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The piano music of Azerbaijan: national and cross- cultural influences on contemporary performance practices

Mirzayeva, G. (2020). The piano music of Azerbaijan: national and cross- cultural influences on contemporary performance practices. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Guildhall School of Music and Drama)


The primary intention of my research is to translate national and cross-cultural music influences and their benefits to the contemporary performance practices of Azerbaijani piano music. The stylistic models of the traditional music genre mugham, eighteenth-century European music and the Russian-Soviet composition school have always been important to the East-West synthesis in Azerbaijani classical music. The practice-based format of the research investigates how the fundamental musical ideas of mugham, Baroque (improvisatory style) and Shostakovich’s aesthetics can influence the stylistic decisions of interpretation.

I begin with my analysis of improvisatory practices and how they take shape practically in performance, applying similar musical methods of improvisation to Fikrat Amirov’s (1922 1984) Variations for Piano and J. S. Bach’s (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations. Additionally, I investigate how the Russian-Soviet influence reintroduced a more hidden expression of mugham in Gara Garayev’s (1918-1982) Twenty-Four Preludes, and how Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s (b.1947) Music for Piano intensified the return of an Eastern style perception of mugham after the 1990s. This study has enabled me not only to evaluate possible aesthetic links between the compositions but to express a renewed understanding of this music through my native roots.

The research has the potential to offer performers valuable insight into the continuous evolution of Azerbaijani piano music while enabling them to develop greater freedom in its interpretation.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: Doctoral Theses
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