Helena Burns

Expression of ideas through musical communication is arguably the most important aspect of music-making during a performance. However, many musicians lack understanding on how their preparation and practice can influence the outcomes of musical expression during performance. In these situations, the value of performers’ analysis in artistic research cannot be understated, as the idea of “practice as research” should be understood by all aspiring musicians. This exegesis investigates how musical expression is communicated in solo viola playing through a comprehensive performer’s analysis of Paul Hindemith’s Solo Viola Sonata Op. 25 No. 1.

The purpose of this study is to understand how comprehensive performers’ analysis contributes to successful musical communication in performance of the Hindemith sonata. Aspects of performers’ analysis that proved most influential include deliberate listening, compositional analysis, experimental practice, and reflections. Aspects of viola performance that were integral to musical communication include vibrato, bow use, memorisation, and physical gesture. This study is also intended to provide other violists with ideas to facilitate their use of performers analysis in preparation for their own performances.

The project followed a practice-led research methodology to generate data and results. Data that informed music-making decisions was generated through:

  1. Deliberate listening
  2. Compositional analysis
  3. Experimental practice
  4. Performances
  5. Reflections

The final performance of the Hindemith Sonata will be the assimilation of all literature, preparation, and practice.

About 2022 Research Seminar Series

Research seminars are presented by current staff, higher degree by research candidates and visiting academics. 

The seminar series showcases the work of our higher degree by research candidates and provides valuable professional development opportunities for undergraduate and coursework students who are interested in research. Visiting scholars are regularly invited to address staff and students, and the seminars are open to the public. Please register by following the link in the session below that you wish to attend.