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Title: Mapping Out Sound: Exploring the Piano Music of Charles Griffes
Authors: Sin, Si Ern Abigail 
Issue Date: 16-Apr-2018
Citation: Sin, Si Ern Abigail (2018-04-16). Mapping Out Sound: Exploring the Piano Music of Charles Griffes. Beyond “Mesearch”: Autoethnography, Self-Reflexivity, and Personal Experience as Academic Research in Music Studies. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The discourse surrounding the music of American composer Charles Griffes (1884– 1920) raises similar issues to the discourse on performance as research. There is a sense of distrust as to where insight is to be found and a lack of a shared language by which to investigate and communicate such insight. With Griffes, the language and lenses used to discuss the works of more famous contemporaries such as Debussy and Ravel are artificially imposed onto Griffes’s works in an attempt to familiarise and legitimise them, instead of discussing them on their own terms. In performance related discourse, a performer’s decisions are still measured against traditional notions of musical structure, instead of considering how the physical experience of performance can itself inform and shape notions of structure, or indeed whether new parameters ought to be developed to discuss performance. In this presentation drawn from my ongoing doctoral research, I will discuss how I as a performer have set out to develop my language and toolkit for exploring Griffes’s solo piano music. Using Clouds and The Night Winds as case studies, I will examine issues of sound production in Griffes’s music, using both piano and orchestral scores as an entry point to qualifying Griffes’s soundworlds. I propose that a performer’s relationship with instrumental sound colour can be a means of perceiving, defining and navigating the structural pillars and building materials in the music. My research on Griffes’s solo piano music could serve as a model for performers exploring similarly under-researched repertoire. In a wider context, this project could also serve as a case study on exploring a performer’s process and practice, using the music of Griffes as an entry point.
Source Title: Beyond “Mesearch”: Autoethnography, Self-Reflexivity, and Personal Experience as Academic Research in Music Studies
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