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Motion in music: a study of movement and time through musical interpretation

Papadopoulos, M. (1996). Motion in music: a study of movement and time through musical interpretation. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


'Motion in Music' is a study of movement and time through musical interpretation. It looks at ways in which motion, both physical and conceptual, is featured in the musical performance and it is, therefore, written with the performance of music in mind. As such, it provides us with a fresh approach to music-making. The study is based on a series of definitions and a distillation of personal experiences rather than a summation of experimental observations. In view of the author's musical background, the piano is featured most prominently in this study. In Chapter I, we examine the background on the subject and, so as to determine to what extent such motion is virtual and to what extent real, we look at it in its aesthetical, psychological and philosophical contents. The act of music-making is then analysed in four stages: from the preparatory, to the moment contact is made with the instrument and to the passage through time from one note to the onset of the next. The concept of the 'sphere', as representing the musical tone, is introduced in order to trace the course of this sonorous body through tonal space. In the ensuing chapters, we examine the forces which initiate sound - the mechanisms of the instrument and the mechanics of the body - and see how the tonal body reacts when these are applied. Such an investigation permits us, however loosely, to relate musical phenomena tothe laws of motion and to show how the sonorous body, once set in motion, undergoes changes to its speed, shape and direction - changes we refer to as 'speed of music', 'mass of music' and 'direction of music'. As the perception of movement in music involves directly or indirectly the participation of all our sensory system, both in the creative process of expressing the musical line and in its apprehension in the first place, we examine its effect on our tactile, auditory and visual channels of communication. In order to enhance our understanding of musical growth and musical progression further, we impart to it a visual perspective based, amongst others, on melodic contour and bodily movement as well as on the gestures of the conductor or those commonly used in the world of pedagogy. Thus, in Chapter V, a series of free hand-produced graphic representations emerge which represent such musical activity. By way of conclusion, we seek out various degrees of motion and their relationships. We identify these as being of paramount importance in producing aesthetically pleasing musical textures and propose further study as to the precise nature of such relationships.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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