White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Interpretative issues in performing contemporary piano music.

Thomas, Julian Philip (1999) Interpretative issues in performing contemporary piano music. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Text (301278_vol1.pdf)

Download (13Mb)
Text (301278_vol2.pdf)

Download (7Mb)


This thesis explores practical and theoretical issues in interpreting contemporary notated piano music. Interpretative problems and approaches are discussed with a practical bias, using a varied selection of musical sources mostly from the last fifty years. The diversity of compositional styles and methods over this period is reflected in the diversity of interpretative approaches discussed throughout this thesis. A feature of the thesis is that no single interpretative method is championed; instead, different approaches are evaluated to highlight their benefits to interpretation, as well as their limitations. It is demonstrated how each piece demands its own approach to interpretation, drawing from different methodologies to varying degrees in order to create a convincing interpretation which reflects the concerns of that piece and its composer. The thesis is divided into four chapters: the first discusses the implications and ambiguities of notation in contemporary music; the second evaluates the importance of analysis and its application to performance and includes a discussion of the existing performance practice literature as well as short performer-based analyses of three pieces (Saxton's Piano Sonata, Tippett's Second Piano Sonata, and Feldman's Triadic Memories); the third chapter considers notions of style and performing traditions, illustrating the factors other than analysis that can 'inform' interpretation; and the fourth chapter draws together the processes demonstrated in the previous chapters in a discussion of the interpretative issues raised by Berio's Seguenza IV. Although each chapter selects examples which illustrate the concern of that chapter, the discussion of each extract is informed by processes found in the other chapters. Discussion is based upon personal experiences and those of nine professional pianists, well-known for their performances of contemporary music. This allows for an objective attitude which accepts a range of possible approaches to a single piece as being valid. It is intended that consideration of these approaches will combine to widen interpretative possibilities and illustrate the complexity and multiplicity of the interpretative process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Literature
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Music (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.301278
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2013 13:10
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3482

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)