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Title: The Performer’s Response as Symbolic Space: Exploring the Piano Music of Charles Griffes
Authors: Sin, Si Ern Abigail 
Issue Date: 27-Oct-2016
Citation: Sin, Si Ern Abigail (2016-10-27). The Performer’s Response as Symbolic Space: Exploring the Piano Music of Charles Griffes. Performers(’) Present Symposium. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was one of the most important yet misunderstood figures of American music. His eclectic artistic outlook has been a major point of fascination and he has frequently been compared to his more famous contemporaries such as Debussy and Ravel, often resulting in reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes. Griffes’s tautly-constructed, vividly-hued music has rarely been discussed on its own terms. In this lecture recital, I will present two ways in which I as a performer have set out to develop my own language and toolkit for approaching Griffes’s music. Firstly, I will perform and present my reading of The Night Winds from Three Tone Pictures Op. 5, which is governed, both on a micro and macro level, by the dichotomy between minor 2nd and major 2nd intervals. Secondly, I will examine issues of sound production in performing The White Peacock from Roman Sketches Op. 7, using both piano and orchestral scores as an entry point to qualifying Griffes’s soundworlds. The analysis and processes detailed in these two case studies constitute what I have proposed to call the “Audiated Version”. This is a symbolic space, constructed by the performer as a mediatory place to respond to the symbol of the score, and to translate the information gleaned from the score into conceptualised sound. The “Performed Version” is what takes place when the performer transforms and transposes this conceptualised sound into physical action and actual sound at the piano. The focus is thus on the agency of the performer and her active, imaginative response to the music. This research could serve as a model for performers exploring similarly underresearched repertoire, and also as a case study on exploring a performer’s process and practice.
Source Title: Performers(’) Present Symposium
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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