PUBLICATIONS

THE BIG AND THE SMALL

Tempo Choice and Other Decisions in the Interpretation of Schubert’s Winterreise
Journal of the Society of Music Theory

Musil, Bartolo (2021)

 

The Big and the Small: Tempo Choice and Other Decisions in the Interpretation of Schubert’s Winterreise

[Das Große und das Kleine. Tempowahl und andere Entscheidungen in der Interpretationspraxis von Schuberts Winterreise]

 

Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 18/Sonderausgabe [Journal of the Society of Music Theory, Special Issue], 479–491.

 

https://doi.org/10.31751/1134

 

The substantial measuring data presented by the PETAL research project (Performing, Experiencing and Theorizing Augmented Listening, Graz, 2017–20) as well as studies based on them draw a differentiated picture of performance strategies in recordings and performances of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise – especially concerning the choice of tempo. On the one hand, tempi and other interpretative choices are based on conceptional considerations – either purely musical or related to a ‘theatrical’ narration. On the other hand, they are shaped by practical and physiological circumstances ranging from the artistic profile of the performers and their condition on the day of performance to the choice of venue and instrument. In the case of Winterreise, the performers’ focus may oscillate between the single song and the cycle as a whole; consequently, an additional dividing line can be drawn between determining factors affecting particular songs and those that have an impact on the entire cycle. The present article sets practice-related considerations in context of the research findings by PETAL and concludes by posing the question if there is such a thing as a “subjective tempo”.

Accordion Content

The Big and the Small: Tempo Choice and Other Decisions in the Interpretation of Schubert’s Winterreise [Das Große und das Kleine. Tempowahl und andere Entscheidungen in der Interpretationspraxis von Schuberts Winterreise]

Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie 18/Sonderausgabe [Journal of the Society of Music Theory, Special Issue], 479–491.

 

https://doi.org/10.31751/1134

 

The substantial measuring data presented by the PETAL research project (Performing, Experiencing and Theorizing Augmented Listening, Graz, 2017–20) as well as studies based on them draw a differentiated picture of performance strategies in recordings and performances of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise – especially concerning the choice of tempo. On the one hand, tempi and other interpretative choices are based on conceptional considerations – either purely musical or related to a ‘theatrical’ narration. On the other hand, they are shaped by practical and physiological circumstances ranging from the artistic profile of the performers and their condition on the day of performance to the choice of venue and instrument. In the case of Winterreise, the performers’ focus may oscillate between the single song and the cycle as a whole; consequently, an additional dividing line can be drawn between determining factors affecting particular songs and those that have an impact on the entire cycle. The present article sets practice-related considerations in context of the research findings by PETAL and concludes by posing the question if there is such a thing as a “subjective tempo”.

SPEAKING ABOUT THE BEAUTY OF VOICE

Professional Journal for Voice Pedagogy

Musil, Bartolo (2018)

 

Speaking about the Beauty of Voices

[Sprechen über die Schönheit von Singstimmen]

 

Title article in: Vox Humana. Fachzeitschrift für Gesangspädagogik [Professional Journal for Voice Pedagogy], issue 14.2 / 06.2018, p. 12-17.

 

There is a large variety of descriptions and reflections about voice timbres, let alone the multitude of considerations on the mystery of beauty in general. When it comes to professional singers, three forms of discourse prevail: the reduction to the physi- ological vocal function, the pseudo-religious mystification, and the authoritarian lingo of the critic’s review.

This article proposes a less reductionist approach, interweaving voices of philoso- phers, singers, (self-proclaimed and actual) experts, nostalgic cultural pessimists, and, of course, the author’s own perspective – trying to disentangle given and ac- quired taste, professional standards, individual desires, and changing fashions. Maybe beauty exists neither ‘in the eye of the beholder’ nor in the object, but in an ever-changing, precarious, and exciting space between the two?

Accordion Content

Title article in: Vox Humana. Fachzeitschrift für Gesangspädagogik [Professional Journal for Voice Pedagogy], issue 14.2 / 06.2018, p. 12-17.

 

There is a large variety of descriptions and reflections about voice timbres, let alone the multitude of considerations on the mystery of beauty in general. When it comes to professional singers, three forms of discourse prevail: the reduction to the physi- ological vocal function, the pseudo-religious mystification, and the authoritarian lingo of the critic’s review.

This article proposes a less reductionist approach, interweaving voices of philoso- phers, singers, (self-proclaimed and actual) experts, nostalgic cultural pessimists, and, of course, the author’s own perspective – trying to disentangle given and ac- quired taste, professional standards, individual desires, and changing fashions. Maybe beauty exists neither ‘in the eye of the beholder’ nor in the object, but in an ever-changing, precarious, and exciting space between the two?

Bartolo Musil

 

Wie ein Begehren
Sprache und Musik in der Interpretation von Vokalmusik (nicht nur) des Fin de Siècle

 

[transcript] Verlag, 2018, 266 pages ISBN: 978-3-8376-4309-1

 

https://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-4309-1/wie-ein-begehren/

 

Singer, composer, vocal pedagogue and researcher Bartolo Musil retells the ambig- uous and precarious coexistence of words and music in vocal art music: as a love story, oscillating between devotion, fusion, joyful difference, repulsion and self-as- sertion.

Art song and mélodie around 1900 form the centre of a vast area that, ranging from Monteverdi to Berg, from theatrical declamation to vocalise.
The constant frame of reference is interpretive practice: not only language and music, but also composition and interpretation, vocal technique and hermeneutics, speech rendering and musical phrasing engage in a dialogue.

Accordion Content

Wie ein Begehren
Sprache und Musik in der Interpretation von Vokalmusik (nicht nur) des Fin de Siècle

[transcript] Verlag, 2018, 266 pages ISBN: 978-3-8376-4309-1

 

https://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-4309-1/wie-ein-begehren/

 

Singer, composer, vocal pedagogue and researcher Bartolo Musil retells the ambig- uous and precarious coexistence of words and music in vocal art music: as a love story, oscillating between devotion, fusion, joyful difference, repulsion and self-as- sertion.

Art song and mélodie around 1900 form the centre of a vast area that, ranging from Monteverdi to Berg, from theatrical declamation to vocalise.
The constant frame of reference is interpretive practice: not only language and music, but also composition and interpretation, vocal technique and hermeneutics, speech rendering and musical phrasing engage in a dialogue.

SPEAKING. SINGING. DECLAIMING.

Vocal textures and vocal performance in the context of Carl Orff's Antigonae

Musil, Bartolo (2022)

 

Speaking. Singing. Declaiming.
Vocal textures and vocal performance in the context of Carl Orff’s Antigonae

 

Full German text to be found in: Kalcher, Anna Maria (ed.): Orff im Wandel der Zeit. Kunst trifft Pädagogik. Wiesbaden: Reichert 2022, p. 55-70.
(English edition will follow.)

 

Carl Orff used a highly personal style of text setting in his theatrical works. In Antigo- nae, the vocal phrase shapes often gravitate towards the ‘monotonous recitation’, a topos that can be found in diverse contexts, such as rosary praying, certain historical traditions of theatrical declamation, some genres of musical speech setting, or in characteristic individual styles of poetry reading. In Orff’s work, the expression oscil- lates between stylization, erasure of the individual speech-espressivo, and solemn elevation, sometimes settling in a ‘no man’s land’ between speaking and singing and presenting the performers with delicate challenges.

Deriving from a lecture recital in the context of a lecture series on Carl Orff, the pre- sent essay will be published in an anthology. It contains historical and interdiscipli- nary contextualisation as well as detailed interpretive analyses.

Accordion Content

Full German text to be found in: Kalcher, Anna Maria (ed.): Orff im Wandel der Zeit. Kunst trifft Pädagogik. Wiesbaden: Reichert 2022, p. 55-70.
(English edition will follow.)

 

Carl Orff used a highly personal style of text setting in his theatrical works. In Antigonae, the vocal phrase shapes often gravitate towards the ‘monotonous recitation’, a topos that can be found in diverse contexts, such as rosary praying, certain historical traditions of theatrical declamation, some genres of musical speech setting, or in characteristic individual styles of poetry reading. In Orff’s work, the expression oscillates between stylization, erasure of the individual speech-espressivo, and solemn elevation, sometimes settling in a ‘no man’s land’ between speaking and singing and presenting the performers with delicate challenges.

Deriving from a lecture recital in the context of a lecture series on Carl Orff, the pre- sent essay will be published in an anthology. It contains historical and interdiscipli- nary contextualisation as well as detailed interpretive analyses.