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The twentieth-century revolution in string playing as reflected in the changing performing practices of viola players from Joseph Joachim to the present day: a practice-based study

By Heng-Ching Fang


The aim of this Ph. D. is to investigate string performance practice issues in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century viola repertoires. The study will focus\ud especially on the use of vibrato and portamento, as well as tempo modification and rhythm adjustment. This practice-based research involves a methodology which explores the close relationship between theory and practice.\ud \ud Chapter One outlines my methodology, reflecting on the philosophical approach that I have developed throughout my project. The content also describes the importance of first-hand experience, highlighting the link between psychology and qualitative method. These subjects are then developed in Chapter Two, which explores the early stage of my four-year journey of this research. I analyse my two `modern'\ud recordings of Brahms' Sonatas for Viola and Piano, Op. 120, No. 1 and 2, demonstrating the way in which globalisation and modernised playing have dominated our perception and affected music production in the recording industry.\ud Chapter Three examines primary sources, and related early recordings(1) together with secondary literature,(2) with reference to my interpretation of German-Romantic viola repertoires by Robert Schumann, Joseph Joachim and Johannes Brahms(3). My intention is to try to understand and apply Joachim's aesthetic to my playing.\ud \ud Chapter Four focuses upon Lionel Tertis' playing. Using Tertis' treatise, Beauty of Tone in String Playing,(4) as well as his complete Vocalion and Columbia recordings,(5)\ud and fingerings from his edition, I develop and then criticise my own interpretation. In Chapter Five I examine the process through which I have developed my own taste\ud as a historically-informed player. I consider my expectations for the future alongside literature related to interpretation.\ud \ud Details of the recorded portfolio are presented at the end of this thesis, including a description of each CD album, a list of the repertoire and the duration, recording date, instrumental equipment and setting, as well as the recording equipment, software and recording engineer. It is suggested that the reader uses the commentary with the recordings, or if preferred, listens to the recordings first and then uses the written text for detailed explanation regarding my approach to interpretation.\ud \ud 1 See Discography, p. 95-6.\ud 2 See Bibliography, p. 91-4.\ud 3 See Appendix I, pp. 97-102.\ud 4 Lionel Tertis, Beauty of Tone in String Playing (London, 1938).\ud 5 Lionel Tertis' complete Vocalion recordings, 1919-24, Biddulph 80219-2; and Columbia recordings, 1924-33, Biddulph 80216-2.\u

Publisher: School of Music (Leeds)
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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