Friday, November 26, 2004

Conferences and holiday

Almost as quickly as it came around, the conference is over, and I am on holiday. It was an amazing conference, though. Almost every paper presented had some direct bearing on mine, and I got some good feedback on mine, too. In adition, it was just nice to spend some time in a different environment among different people. The guest house I was in was beautiful, and I had a room right up in the loft, which was lovely. And just for fun, on Wednseday night, we went "pubcrawling", which in Stellenbosch after the students leave, is relatively tame. Still, it was lovely to spend some time with my colleagues in a different, very relaxed, setting. One of the places we visited was called the "Mystic Boer," which really was the sole reason we visited it!
Anyway, the conference holds prospects of overseas travel and a publication, so aside from its intrinsic value, it provides even more direction and motivation for my honours project. This really has been a good year!

Monday, November 22, 2004

a day out

I had such an amazing day today, I just had to record a little bit of it. A friend from Finland is here is SA (he is on his way to Capetown now), and has been staying with friends of his in the south of Johannesburg for the weekend. Well, he and I spent the day in Johannesburg today, and visited, among other places, Constitution hill which is built on th esite of the old fort. There is a lovely museum there, and we went for a tour of the whole place. It was amazing! I didn't realise what a good museum it was. In the afternoon, we met my supervisor in Mellville, and had coffee and cake together. It just reminded me all over again what a great person she is to work with. Not that I ever forgot it, but it was reconfirmed today. She is such a fabulous person to be around, and to talk to. anyway, enough mushy stuff. I am off to the conference in Stellenbosh tomorrow, and really looking forward to it!
Will update you on the progress we make at the conference afterwards.

Monday, November 15, 2004


This will be useful when searching for actual classical music scores. not directly related to my research, but with much coursework still ahead in my student career, it is worth knowing about

WWW sites for musicologists

WWW sites for musicologists
A real mixed bag of links, this one. may not be searchable enough to be really useful, as all the links are on one page, but it still may be useful for general information

CER Bibliography

CER Bibliography
Yet another potentially useful bibliography. This one is specifically on education related matters, so I am not too sure how useful it will be, but it may contain something relevant. everything is very nicely grouped under titles

Current Anthropology

Current Anthropology
This journal requires a subscription to access the articles, but individual subscriptions for online access only are not expensive, and it looks useful. Just may subscribe here if I think there is enough of potential value available


Untitled Document
Making some progress today. Did I mention that I am perticularly working on my proposal bibliography?
Anyway, this link is to a Journal described as "music-centered". I like to keep links to online journals as I find them so that I can find some of the most up-to-date information available. I have searched the archives of this one, and found a few potentially interesting articles. If I make use of any of them, I will post the links.

Music & Anthropology

Music & Anthropology
Ok, so this one is not as relevant to me as it is (I hope) to a friend of mine who is busy with his masters. Still, if I publish it here, perhaps he will comment on whether he finds it useful or not (hint, hint!)

UW Libraries - Music Library - Bands

UW Libraries - Music Library - Bands

So this is the link found from the last blogged page that looks just great. There are so many well organised links here, that if I don't find something useful here, I will never find anything!


Ok, so that last link wasn't quite as great as I hoped. This one looks better. Lots of useful info. Have already found one link helpful, and will blog it shortly!

EOL: Ethnomusicology Sources

potentially good link this. Just about to explore it

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Choral public domain library

This is another nice link for music, though if you search the previous one given, it will probably direct you here for some things anyway. I am getting a lot of the music that our choir is working on from here

So here is a good link, and I get free membership by linking (LOL!)
Anyway, would be worth it even if I didn't get the membership. Lots of music available to save a busy choir director hours in the library

exams are nearly over!

This is aweful, it has been so long since I last posted anything! not that I haven't been working, Still, at least they are finally over (well, the written ones at least. Still have my repetoire exam on Thursday). Doesn't mean the work stops, though. One of my lecturers lost an essay and an assignment I handed in over seven weeks ago, and as I don't seen to have kept a backup copy, I many have to rewrite them. I also have a final composition and essay assignment for digital music technology due for next Monday, and a performance at a student composition recital on saturday (I can't believe I am playing percussion). Then the following saturday, I am playing piano for a charity event, and the monday following that I'm off to Stellenbosch. And to top it all off, I need to hand in my research proposal in January. At least its mostly fun work. Any way, Today's exam was Music history, and I have a whole collection of incomplete and rather patchy notes for that, so I'll post them over the next few days. Right now, I'm going to take a well-earned break, and surf the web. Will post anything interesting I find!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Notes for practical theory

Ok, I don't know how much sense these are going to make, they were just my notes based on the questions we were told to prepare for this exam. We have been working through chapters from David Blum's Casals and the art of interpretation, and Barry Green's The Mastery of music. This is a bit of summarising, the questions we had to prepare, and a few of my own comments. I will continue to post my study notes like this, just so that I have a backup of them, but if anyone finds them interesting or useful, please feel free to comment.

Essays for practical exam, November 2004

Discuss Cassals’ first principle (12 min, 10%)
Lotte Lehmann defines the art of interpretation as the “individual understanding and reproduction,” and while this seems too general a description to really categorise what David Blum calls “the first principle,” it appears to deal with many of the same issues.

Breath motion. Breathing gives phrasing. Life-giving, finding what the music wants to do naturally. Making the music meaningful, finding what the music wants

Discuss Cassals’ natural rules (48 min, 40%)

Variety: a succession of rainbows, both in shape, and graduation of colour. Ebb and flow.
The dynamic follows the contour. Up=more, down=less
Generally, a long note means cresc, or dim. “a note has to say something”
Repetition = contrast.
Dynamics are flexible and relative

Discuss the four motivating factors for preparing for an exam or performance (1 hour, 50%)

The desire to perform great music, to do the music and composer justice, and to give our audiences the pleasure of great music played well should ultimately underlie all music-making experiences. Unfortunately, however, this internal motivation is not always present to encourage one to practice well. Instead, therefore, one often has to rely on other motivating factors to encourage effective and regular rehearsal.
Competition can act as effective motivation for performers to practice, as it can provide a broad based standard against which to measure one’s progress, and encourage one to persevere and aim to excel. Encouraging competition between performers in a group, or between specific groups within a larger group (such as voice groups in a choir) can build a healthy desire to excel, and can keep the performers on their toes. On the other hand, however, competition can create animosity between members of a group which should be working together, or can take the focus off musical integrity, and place it instead on individual prestige. Furthermore, some people find competition demotivating, as they may never feel adequate, and prefer to measure their performance against their own previous performances. On the other hand, some people become so driven to compete that they become demotivated when the competition is removed, and may well lose sight of the original purpose of performing beautiful music. This unhealthy competitive urge can even diminish the performer’s capacity for emotionally genuine performance, as virtuosity and technical efficiency overshadow intention and artistry. None the less, competition, when used sparingly, and with discression, can be a valuable motivation.
Frequent required performances can be an excellent motivation to practice, as they give one specific goals with a timeframe to encourage frequent and effective practice. The less time one has to practice, the more efficiently one has to use what practice time one has. Furthermore, when a performance is impending, fear, pride, or anticipation will often encourage one to practice frequently, while the habit of performing can diminish performance anxiety, thus acting as general encouragement to a student who may otherwise be discouraged from performing, or even pursuing music.
The next two motivating factors, pride and fear are closely linked to the former two. Performers who have a standard to live up to are frequently motivated by pride to maintain it, while others may be motivated by fear of embarrassment to prepare thoroughly. The driving force behind competition or preparation for required performances is usually the desire not to embarrass onself, whether motivated by fear, or pride.
Once again, however, both factors can prove as debilitating as motivating. A timid performer excessively plagued by fear may find performance nearly impossible, and may be discouraged from pursuing a musical education for precisely this reason. In a case like this, regular required performances could be demotivating. Excessive pride, however, could lead a performer to become overly competitive, as mentioned before, and could diminish the natural motivation to perform good music well for its own sake.
In general, all external motivating factors should be used with discression, in order to encourage sincere, high quality performance.

Practice accuracy. Plan in order to achieve an accurate first play-through. Play slowly enough to avoid mistakes, and increase the tempo gradually only when the piece is secure at the slower tempo.
Competition: accountability and incentive. Someone or something to measure yourself against.
Required performance: motivation to practice happens instinctively