This project will explore the relationship between what we do in musical performance and the contexts in which performance takes place.
We will examine the function and contexts of performance from a range of historical and contemporary perspectives. This will include the development of the Western concert tradition and its associated rituals, examining how and why particular modes of performance behaviour have arisen. We will also address the relationship between the emergence of the concert tradition and the idea of the autonomous work of music.
Of what musical and cultural use are concert rituals today, whether for composers, performers or audiences? Are they restrictive or liberating? How can we respond creatively to the specifics of context? What role does context play in the mediation of musical meaning, and how can musicians select and/or create performance material that engages with the specifics of space, place and audience?
The project will then look beyond this tradition, examining performance outside the concert hall. How do composers and performers devise and develop work for other sites and spaces, and for different forms of encounter with the public? And what is the impact of new media on modes of performance and relationship to the public? We will examine examples of musical performance developed for other kinds of arts venues (theatres, galleries, museums, libraries, etc), for other community settings, for networked performance, and for the outside environment. For comparative purposes, we will draw on perspectives from other disciplines, using studies in the anthropology of performance and examining selected examples of site-specific art and devised theatre.
The project will comprise practical workshops (focusing on students’ own performance and compositional practices), lectures, seminars (including analysis of recorded materials), and tutorials.
In project sessions we will examine the work of the following musicians, artists and theatre makers, amongst others: Bobby Baker, Janet Cardiff, Forced Entertainment, Christina Kubisch, Graeme Miller, Alvin Lucier, Meredith Monk, Cornelia Parker, Punchdrunk, Hildegard Westerkamp.
All students, on completion of the module, should have:
1st years, in their independent work, should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-7, 8 & 10.
2nd years, in their independent work, should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1-7, 8 & 10.
3rd years, in their independent work, should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-7, 8 & 10.