Research Repository

PRESTO – the Royal Academy of Music’s Open Access research repository
 


Blier-Carruthers, Amy and Kolkowski, Aleks and Miller, Duncan (2015) The art and science of acoustic recording: re-enacting Arthur Nikisch and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s landmark 1913 recording of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Science Museum Group Journal, 3. ISSN 2054-5770

Abstract

The Art and Science of Acoustic Recording was a collaborative project between the Royal College of Music and the Science Museum that saw an historic orchestral recording from 1913 re-enacted by musicians, researchers and sound engineers at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in 2014. The original recording was an early attempt to capture the sound of a large orchestra without re-scoring or substituting instruments and represents a step towards phonographic realism. Using replicated recording technology, media and techniques of the period, the re-enactment recorded two movements of Beethoven?s Fifth Symphony on to wax discs ? the first orchestral acoustic recordings made since 1925. The aims were primarily to investigate the processes and practices of acoustic sound recording, developed largely through tacit knowledge, and to derive insights into the musicians? experience of recording acoustically. Furthermore, the project sought to discover what the acoustic recordings of the past do ? and don't ? communicate to listeners today. Archival sources, historic apparatus and early photographic evidence served as groundwork for the re-enactment and guided its methodology, while the construction of replicas, wax manufacture and sound engineering were carried out by an expert in the field of acoustic recording. The wax recordings were digitised and some processed to produce disc copies playable on gramophone, thus replicating the entire course of recording, processing, duplication and reproduction. It is suggested that the project has contributed to a deeper understanding of early recordings and has provided a basis for further reconstructions of historical recording sessions.

Blier-Carruthers, Amy (2015) How I learned to stop worrying and love the studio: a professional and paradigmatic approach to preparing musicians for recording. In: Proceedings of the ORCiM Seminar 2014 : From Output to Impact, The integration of artistic research results into musical training. Orpheus Instituut, Ghent.

Abstract

Classical musicians spend thousands of hours training for the concert platform, but comparatively little time learning how to translate that performance for the recording studio. Either because of the inherent qualities of the product and process of recording, or because of this lack of preparation during their training, many musicians approach the recording studio with trepidation and anxiety. Based on my research, this is true of professionals, but even the technologically-savvy students of today describe recording using words such as: 'perfection, permanent, clean, clinical, not natural, no audience, exposing flaws, daunting'. In this paper I will discuss a course that I teach on studio practices for conservatoire students; this is a learning model which uses elements of collaboration, experiential learning, and self-reflection. Using an ethnographic approach, I have researched orchestral musicians? professional lives as recording artists, and as a participant observer I have been teaching whilst simultaneously researching this learning experience. I will give an account of how the research informs the teaching, and will highlight important aspects of the teaching and learning processes as evidenced by my observations, interviews, and the students' own reflective commentaries. I will also offer an argument that this course is an example of the simultaneous use of Sloboda's concepts of professional and paradigmatic learning, where professional learning is preparing the student for the profession, and paradigmatic learning is the process of questioning or rethinking accepted mores, often resulting in news ways of thinking or doing. When these two concepts are applied simultaneously to teaching it can create a fruitful creative tension which enhances the students' learning; it not only prepares students for their careers as recording artists but makes them more conscious, enquiring and empowered musicians, and might also serve to change the culture of recording itself as they feed into the profession.

Blier-Carruthers, Amy (2013) The performer’s place in the process and product of recording. In: Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP) Performance Studies Network International Conference, 4-7 April 2013, Cambridge.

Abstract

This may seem a strange question to ask, as the most obvious answer would be: centre-stage, in front of the microphones, being recorded, with their name in bold across the CD cover. But the situation is rather more complicated than that. There are many people involved in the making of a recording, most notably the producer and production team (and factors such as the technology and studio situation) and the performer often does not have the control over the process or product that we might assume they do. In the case of Classical orchestral musicians this can result in a dislike of the process, doubts about whether they like what is captured, and disillusionment with the effects of editing and the expectation of perfection. I will propose some solutions: reconsidering the ontologies of live and recorded formats, training conservatoire students to make the transition from stage to studio, making producers and engineers more aware of the challenges and justifiable fears that musicians face when standing in front of the microphone, and opening critics' and listeners' ears to the new possibilities that musicians and producers might explore if they were given the artistic freedom to try.

Blier-Carruthers, Amy (2013) The studio experience: control and collaboration. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2013. European Association of Conservatoires (AEC), Brussels, pp. 694-698. ISBN 9782960137804.

Abstract

Classical musicians have traditionally not been trained for the recording studio to the same extent as for the concert platform. This paper presents how we at the Royal College of Music aim to provide students with a conceptual understanding and practical experience of recording.

Callis, Sarah and Heyde, Neil and Kanga, Zubin and Sham, Olivia (2015) Creative resistance as a performance tool. Music + Practice, 2. ISSN 1893-9562

Abstract

This article explores the idea of ‘resistance’ in the performance of Western art music, with resistance defined as the kind of creative energy that confronting obstruction can bring. Borrowing terminology from Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman, the discussion considers how resistance can be both found and made, and explores its role – using evidence from a documented collaboration – in the dynamic process of invention that emerges at the borders between players, composers, instruments and materials. This process is then investigated in case studies involving music by Fauré, Liszt and Brahms, where resistance becomes a tool in the active remaking intrinsic to composer/performer-generated works.

Cashian, Philip (2016) Scenes from the Life of Viscount Medardo : for horn and piano. [Video]

Abstract

Piece for Horn and Piano composed by Philip Cashian. Premiere performance recorded in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall of the Royal Academy of Music, 7/11/2016. Horn: Richard Watkins, piano: Joseph Havlat.

Gorton, David (2010) Capriccio : for solo cello. [Video]

No abstract


Gorton, David and Coorevits, Esther and Moelants, Dirk and Östersjö, Stefan, and Leman, Marc (2016) Decomposing a composition: on the multi-layered analysis of expressive music performance. In: Music, Mind & Embodiment : 11th International Symposium, CMMR 2015, Plymouth, UK, June 16-19, 2015, Revised Selected Papers. Information Systems and Applications, incl. Internet/Web, and HCI (9617). Springer International Publishing, Switzerland. ISBN 9783319462820 (eBook) 9783319462813 (soft cover)

Abstract

In our engagement with music, not only the physical experience of sound is important. Also the interplay between body movements, musical gestures and the cognitive processes of performers and listeners is part of our experience. Yet, this multimodal aspect is not always fully considered when analysing music performance. In this paper, we want to establish a framework for a multi-layered analysis of music performance, building on data retrieved from quantitative and qualitative procedures and involving the perspectives of composer, performer and musicologist. The performance of a classical guitarist was analysed in detail, using both a ‘bottom-up’ approach (audio-analysis and motion-capture) and a ‘top-down’ perspective (annotations from video-footage, perceived phrasing and the composer’s, performer’s and researcher’s perspective). These different analytical layers were compared and evaluated, which pointed out that multiple perspectives can reinforce each other in understanding musical intentions and can help detecting mismatches between qualitative and quantitative data. The analytical framework developed could be an important step in the coupling of performer’s intentions with the expressive enactment of a musical score.

Gorton, David and Östersjö, Stefan (2017) Choose your own adventure music : on the emergence of voice in musical collaboration. Contemporary Music Review. ISSN 0749-4467

Abstract

The real world practices of collaborating composers and performers have been receiving increasing attention within academic discourse. Such collaborations are often presented from two complementary perspectives: pre-compositional joint invention and post-compositional negotiations in the realization of a score and its notation. This article attempts to bridge the gap between the two perspectives through a discussion on the emergence of ‘voice’ that pervades the artistic practice, and binds the pre- and post-compositional phases together. Two compositions by David Gorton, written in collaboration with guitar player Stefan Östersjö, will be examined: Forlorn Hope for eleven-string alto guitar and optional live electronics and Austerity Measures I for ten-string guitar. Both pieces are the result of an extended pre-composition experimental phase, and both pieces attempt to recreate something of those experiments in the contexts of their performance, establishing the conditions for the emergence of a ‘discursive voice’ of both composer and performer.


 Gritten, Anthony (2015) Deferred musical homecomings. Contemporary Music Review, 34 (1). pp. 67-83. ISSN 0749-4467

Abstract

I imagine what it means to talk about ‘the home of listening’. I analyse this phrase as denoting something about the functioning of listening within the transcendental constitution of the auditory subject, where the preposition ‘within’ denotes the presence of a home ‘within’ which the auditory subject can be found, and insofar as the phrase denotes a property of listening along the grammatical lines of the phrase ‘the colour of paint’. I imagine home obliquely, set in motion by several of Lyotard's essays on place, and Szendy's archaeology of contemporary listening practices. Describing how listening regimes regulate the rhythmic constitution of the auditory subject, I work towards the conclusion that there is nevertheless an existential failure built into listening with respect to its desire to return home: listening lags behind the sound that decays before listening. The essay concludes by describing this spiral double bind.


Gritten, Anthony (2010) Resonant listening. Performance Research, 15 (3). pp. 115-122. ISSN 1352-8165

No abstract


 Gritten, Anthony (2015) The subject (of) listening. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, 45 (3). pp. 203-219. ISSN 0007-1773

Abstract

Jean-Luc Nancy’s phenomenology of listening (trans. 2007) makes a series of claims about the sonic / auditory nature of the subject. First among these is the claim that the subject is a subject to the extent that it is listening, that it is all ears. The subject emerges on the back of the resonance of timbre in the body and the body’s becoming-rhythmic. These claims are phrased often in musical terms, or making use of terms and rhetoric from the domains of music theory and music psychology. This article explores the role of music in Nancy’s phenomenology with a particular view to the nature of listening in the contemporary world: both how listening is figured as a part of what Nancy terms the inoperative community and how listening figures the cognitive and phenomenological constitution of the subject.


Ragge, Melanie New Perspectives from old Manuscripts. New London Chamber Ensemble. (Unpublished)

Abstract

A note from the New London Chamber Ensemble on the use of the new Carl Nielsen Edition of the Wind Quintet (Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen) on their Nielsen CD.