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Piano Playing in the German Tradition, 1840-1900: Rediscovering the Un-notated Conventions of Performance

Qu, Miaoyin (2015) Piano Playing in the German Tradition, 1840-1900: Rediscovering the Un-notated Conventions of Performance. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This practice-based project investigates performing practices in German piano repertoire in the period 1840-1900, when a style of playing with distinctive qualities dominated the pianistic scene and music making in general. That style can be heard in early recordings and piano rolls, but is now long forgotten. Modern players, even those who embrace the newly emerged field of Historically Informed Performance (HIP) and claim to perform and record Classical and Romantic repertory in a historically-informed manner, mostly avoid the employment of that style. This project seeks to discover through practical experimentation how that style of playing, which speaks a musical language unfamiliar to us, might be reinstated in the repertoire with which it was originally associated. In this way, a new interesting dimension will be given to piano works, which have nowadays seen countless approaches, most of which, however, may be far removed from anything their composers might have expected. This is attempted by means of a process of testing ideas through practice that aims to explore potential hidden meanings of the notation. More specifically this study investigates the use of Arpeggiation, Dislocation and Tempo Rubato in piano rolls and historical recordings in conjunction with scholarly studies and general theoretical writings of the period in question. The first chapter presents the research context, as well as the methodology followed. The second chapter discusses performing practices of the period in question as they are manifest in historical recordings, in the notation, and as they are commented upon by nineteenth-century theorists. The third chapter is a detailed analysis of the rationale behind my performances of piano repertoire by important German composers. The ultimate aim of this project is to produce performances that embody the research and are in line with the documented concepts and the interpretations of the composers and performers of the period in which the music was written.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: piano, German, performance, performing practice, historical, practice as research, HIP, historically informed performance, recordings, piano rolls, authentic, authenticity, arpeggiation, rubato, dislocation, interpretation, dislocation,
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.651244
Depositing User: Mrs Miaoyin Qu
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2015 11:46
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9126

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