This article discusses the development of original performance techniques specific to the fretless electric guitar through diverse musical practice(s) and proposes a standardized system of musical notation. An autoethnographic account of personal performance experience is framed with reference to theoretical constructs of performative practice and collaborative creativity. The article focuses on the process behind an evolving practice: combining practical and theoretical aspects of contemporary music performance, and demonstrating that the collation, archiving and subsequent dissemination of both established and emerging techniques into the wider musical community is essential in order to promote the fretless electric guitar as an independent musical force.
The time has come to shed new light on previous methods of analysis, review existing documents and revisit the period when Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a rococo theme were first composed, performed and published. This article challenges the persistent view that Wilhelm Fitzenhagen arbitrarily reshaped and edited the Variations. Further, the potential positive sides of the composer–performer collaboration between Tchaikovsky and Fitzenhagen is enunciated and the latter’s artistic lineage through the Dresden cellist Friedrich Grützmacher investigated. The conceptual clarification of historical, textological and editorial evidence consists of numerous documents, such as the manuscripts and first editions, the full text of Fitzenhagen’s letters to Tchaikovsky and photographs that are, for the most part, new to English readers. Sound recordings of the two versions of the Variations on historical instruments are also made available.
How may posture and touch reconstructed from Viennese piano method books of the early 19th-century influence phrasing and sound in piano playing today? In this article, Norwegian pianist and researcher Christina Kobb introduces the reader to relevant sources as well as their practical application. In text and video, she demonstrates how a practice of the past may be approached. Insights are gained from unlocking descriptions of physical actions and meticulously imitating these movements. After almost ten years of work, she also gives specific advice for studying well-known piano works from the early romantic repertoire, applying aspects of her reconstructed ‘Viennese technique’.
This article seeks to illuminate the relationship between instrumental practice and musical structure in Aldo Clementi’s Ricercare for solo guitar. It is the claim of the article that Clementi’s take on instrumental practice raises the question of interpretation itself as an individual strand of the composition and that the performative negotiation of musical structure is at the heart of the work. In this way, Clementi represents a new paradigm of composition where musical structure cannot be seen outside of the performative context. Thus, in necessarily having to negotiate notation and performance, the performer is invited to question his own musical practice, sensibility and perception.
Italian flutist Roberto Fabbriciani has been at the forefront of musical developments since the mid-1970s. He has enjoyed a close collaborative partnership with composers such as Luigi Nono, Brian Ferneyhough and Salvatore Sciarrino, and has played a key role in the transformation of our perception of the flute. In a wide-ranging interview, flutist Bjørnar Habbestad and Fabbriciani discuss new notions of sound, composer–performer collaboration, interpretation and risk-taking in contemporary flute playing.
The communicative vocabulary of a conductor comprises an extensive repertory of manual gestures. Over the course of time the role of conductor has developed from one whose predominant function was ostensibly a fundamentally rhythmic one, to a role in which expressive aspects are focal. In this context, body language, posture, facial expressions and eye contact are integral components of the conductor’s communicative vocabulary. In this article, Australian conductor Carolyn Watson discusses how musical intent is communicated, and shares her own experience from a busy career with the baton.