Dissertation Index

Author: MANICA, Solon Santana

Title: Musical Interpretation and Narrativity: study applied to Aboio Op.65 for solo flute by Paulo Costa Lima

Institution: Universidade Federal da Bahia

Begun: March 2012

Completed: September 2016


This study describes a performer’s creative interpretation process of Aboio Op.65 (2005) for flute solo by Paulo Costa Lima. It uses Almen’s theory of narrativity as a starting point, not only to identify a possible narrative underlying the piece, but also to compare analyses of two recent recordings of the studied piece. These activities and the identification of narrative constructions function as a preparation for the creation of a distinct musical performance. This study understands that performance is an essential part of music and fundamental to the comprehension of the complexities of musical phenomenon as a whole, which comprise much more than only the musical score. Recent studies of musical listening have shown that aspects manipulated by performers are the main influence on the process of attributing meaning to a musical experience by an audience. Traditionally, analysis confers meanings to musical scores. But performance is also a fundamental part of music. This is important for anyone who intends to assign musical meanings, who intends to understand and create discourses on music. It highlights the relevance of studying musical performances in order to create musical narratives.

The research is also based on the principles of artistic research, therefore it focuses on the description of artistic creative processes. It presents the different theoretical contexts that influenced the artist-researcher in his interpretative choices, as well as several other creative steps in this particular artistic individual process. This description aims at generating knowledge about the performer’s activities by understanding some of the variety of possibilities and different paths present in the way of understanding musical performance. This research shows that the analysis of the tradition of a work (the recordings of its performances) can be used together with a score/text analysis for the creation of a musical narrative which, in turn, can be a useful tool for the performer\'s creative interpretation process.

The narrative can also serve as a means to raise awareness of the socio-cultural aspects connected to the musical language of the work Aboio Op.65 by Paulo Costa Lima. In the northeast of Brazil, Aboio is a traditional song of the drovers while playing livestock. It’s also an identity symbol of Northeastern Brazilian culture, the composer’s life context. The research studied the writings of composer Paulo Costa Lima (professor of music composition at the Federal University of Bahia) and interviewed him about his ideas about the piece, composition and music. The importance conceded by Lima to the complementarity between theory and practice contributed to the reflections developed by this study. How the performer can use the instrument\'s technique to highlight socio-cultural aspects of music? This and other questions are developed in this research.

Concepts of Almén’s theory like markedness and rank are applied to the recordings. They focus on differences of dynamics and tempo between the two recordings, aspects manipulated by the performers. The narratives are created from the score analysis and from the analysis of each recording. Three narratives are used as a basis of my narrative interpretation. Each analysis sets a different archetype. As Almén points out, different analyses can establish different narratives for the same music. Aspects such as the room acoustics, where the performance took place, were preponderant to the narrative interpretation of recordings. This point is not even considered in an analysis of the score. What challenges the centrality of the score (traditionally present in the analytical studies) is the importance of performance to understanding music. Moreover, the study points to the possibility of association by theoretical concepts for the performers and technical aspects of the instruments used.

Keywords: Music, Analysis, Narrativity, Performance, Interpretation



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