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Goodman, Elaine Claire

Analysing the Ensemble in Music Rehearsal and Performance: The Nature and Effects of Interaction in Cello-Piano Duos

Ph.D. Royal Holloway, University of London, 2000
(E.C.Goodman@music.hull.ac.uk)

The study of ensemble performance is a relatively neglected domain of research within the field of performance studies. This thesis contributes to the existing body of work, expanding the area of focus and addressing a virtually untouched medium, namely the cello-piano duo.

In Part I, relevant literature is discussed prior to establishing the methodological basis of a novel, empirical study of ensemble performance. The aim of the investigation, which involves seven duos, is twofold: to observe the nature of interaction in ensemble rehearsal, and to monitor the effects of interaction on individual musicians in ensemble performance. In the study, the musicians perform by themselves (henceforth 'solo') and together (henceforth 'ensemble') both before and after an ensemble rehearsal.

In Part II, four aspects of the duo rehearsals are analysed: method, social behaviour, topics of discourse and types of musical negotiation. A framework is developed in order to define an emerging 'system' of performers' discourses according to the nature of interaction. The topics raised in the rehearsals, and indeed the processes of negotiation enacted therein, provide a springboard into Part III, which considers changes in expressive components (specifically profiles of timing and dynamics) across the various performances made by the individual musicians.

Two questions are addressed: do the expressive profiles change across the two conditions (solo and ensemble), and, if so, how? With regard to the latter, three further questions are asked. First, are the profiles constrained or exaggerated in the ensemble condition? Second, are more changes manifest in the pianists' or the cellists' profiles across the two conditions? Third, do more changes occur between the two conditions before rehearsal or after rehearsal? The results produced are both general and specific in nature, and the conclusions that emerge are discussed at length in Part III.