From Gesture to Sound
The Projects - Overview
From Gesture to Sound – The Projects
The central section of this thesis, encompassing the three main projects, is an inquiry into musical interpretation and performance. It builds on my practice as a professional baroque violinist. The analysis is drawn from video documentation of individual practising, rehearsals and concert performances. Here, the roles of a musical score, of performance practice, instruments, and the human body in musical creativity are explored.
How can musical interpretation be drawn from a musician’s movements? What movements in performance reflect and inform musical structure?
In the video essays below, these and other questions are addressed through the embodied knowledge of musicians in performance.
I regard the gestures applied in the case study 'Don Quichotte' as mimetic in the sense that they assimilate the physical action implied in the narrative. I explore the kinaesthetic features of throwing, sword fighting, and sighing, and how these mimetic body movements translate into the resulting sound.
The visual communication of the story, as manifested in the body movements, is an important aspect in the analysis, but the aim of the experiments is to explore the connections between these mimetic movements and the shaping of the music in performance.
The shared space of dance form and musical form in baroque dance music is the point of departure for this study. There are several recent studies and projects exploring how dance structures and dancing may inform musical performance (Dalen, 2013, Wittstruck & Costanza, 2012). While my thesis draws on this knowledge, as well as on musicological research concerned with the structural and historical aspects of baroque dance (Mather, 1987, Little & Jenne, 1991), and the relation between dance and music in general (Damsholt, 1999), I explore a dimension that occurs in these studies only perfunctorily: the role of the musician’s body.
In the two previous studies I explored how a violinist’s body movements can assimilate mimetic action (V1) and dance (V2). In section V3, I will explore gestures that are drawn from the structural features of music imbued with poetic imagery. The accompanying Sonnets which Vivaldi included in the 1725 printed edition of his violin concertos op. 8 reveal a programmatic content that certainly influenced the compositional process (Everett, 1996). While the assimilation of poetic imagery into bodily gesture in V3 will in some respects overlap with the assimilation of mimetic action and dance, the trajectory of the enquiry will explore new aspects of the Gesturist and Soundist approaches to musical interpretation and performance.
Mimetic Action (V1)