Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 59
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The Song of the Sibyl: from pagan prophecy to contemporary liturgical drama.
    Watters-Cowan, Asher Peter ( 2022)
    The Song of the Sibyl presents an intriguing case of the preservation and restoration of a medieval Spanish liturgical drama in contemporary society. Listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO (2010), this ancient pagan prophecy of damnation – performed by a vocalist impersonating a Sibyl – was once widespread across Christmas liturgies in Europe. Despite suppression from the Tridentine Council (1545-1563), it was sustained by small communities in Mallorca and Sardinia through rote traditions, and from the 1990s onward, the number of performances across the Catalan regions on the Spanish mainland has flourished. My thesis seeks to understand the many ways this drama can be presented, which results in its preservation and revival. I achieve this through a comparison and analysis of audio and visual source materials, manuscripts, and transcriptions. The manifold reasons for revival include: recovery of primary source documents and reconstructions of manuscripts by 20th century musicologists; the reanimation of Catalan heritage; and a contemporary attraction to the pagan personality of the Sibyl. My research will assist future scholars in understanding the present reception and restoration of this liturgical drama.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Beyond barriers: Creating a space for deeper connection between individuals from diverse religious traditions through a dialogic group music therapy process
    Notarangelo, Astrid Danielle ( 2021)
    This project has emerged in response to a community need to create further platforms for interfaith dialogue in Bendigo, a regional city in Victoria, Australia. Community tensions about a new mosque highlighted a need to build stronger relationships amongst the interfaith and wider community. These tensions were at odds with my experiences of creating musical spaces for the expression and exploration of diverse spiritual and religious identity as a music therapist at the local hospital. In these spaces, listening and respect mattered. My close proximity to people with diverse religious perspectives helped me to be more aware of diverse others in the community and of the current tensions. I wanted to see how music could help. An ethnographic approach captured the journey from the institutional context out into the community to engage in a community-based research project, a collaboration with the interfaith community in Bendigo. A cyclic, emergent action research process evolved into a series of focus groups where individual lived experiences of religion and religious rituals were shared, using music as a focus and a support for communication. Eleven collaborators from six different religious traditions in Bendigo came together to take part in a dialogic group music therapy process – musical presentation (Amir, 2012). This process offers a model for listening and engaging in a group. From this process, music playlists, drawings, focus group dialogue and phone interview feedback were generated. This material revealed the strong sense of connection that collaborators felt with others in the group and their enjoyment of coming together to share diverse faith identities in this creative space. The process also highlighted that the vulnerability and challenges that come from engaging in creative processes were valuable and brought new perspectives and growth. The vitality of music as a mode of communication, through which identity, feelings, memory and culture can be explored was highlighted. Collaborators commented on the depth of the experience and the connection to others within a short space of time. Despite the different associations collaborators each had with music, they saw it as helpful in communicating religious identity. Music supported the group to remove some of the usual barriers that existed between them in this new creative space. One of the key statements developed through collaborator feedback was that “This process has the potential to increase understanding, knowledge, and connection in our community”. The project highlights the importance of creating spaces for the exploration and sharing of diverse religious identity. Possibilities for music therapists as advocates, negotiators and community-builders in these kinds of processes are also raised. Engaging in a dialogic group music process highlighted a form of ‘attunement’ between collaborators that related to musical concepts and processes. Music’s capacity to re-conceptualise broader processes and relationships was also highlighted through connecting this project to the concept of ‘community as a harmonic landscape’, as a way of sharing the project with the wider community. Collaborators felt that the process they experienced could act as a ‘stepping stone’ into further creative community action.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Mga awit mula sa kalooblooban: finding Filipino national identity in song: a contextualisation and analysis of prison songs written during the Marcos regime
    Mckinnon, James Emmanuel ( 2019)
    The Marcos dictatorship pushed identity into new spaces as a matter of necessity during the martial law period in the Philippines in the late twentieth century. During this time voices were suppressed, and culture limited in its ability to be critical. The representation of core tenants of a society’s character in its art and culture is a well-understood concept, and when layers of colonialism, political dictatorship, and the restricted liberty are added into this context, a different perceptive can be understood about the way that society is under duress. This thesis argues that songs written in the Philippines between 1972 and 1983 by political prisoners reflected qualities in national identity. This thesis will outline the deeper historical context of the prison songs and analyse a number of important influences on them in order to tie the threads of Filipino history together across centuries and generations. This thesis shows how identity reflected influences on the Philippines and how subsequent qualities manifest within art. Furthermore, using the Marcos martial law period as an example of this, the way in which that identity was shaped, challenged, and moulded to express discontent with the governmental practices. Within this, songs and poems were written by political prisoners’ act as representations of those actions and propose and conceptualise a perspective on the past and present that give to the future.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Edition as Work: The Editorial Interventions of Ferruccio Busoni, Alfred Cortot & Heinrich Schenker in the Publication of Canonical Piano Repertoire
    Young, Man Chung Nicholas ( 2020)
    Scholarly criticism of music notation tends to focus on the intentions of the composer, and neglect or dismiss the artistic agency of the editor. The famous notion of Werktreue, likewise, implies that the will of the composer is the only legitimate source of artistic intention. These attitudes run counter to the rich tradition of interventionist editing in nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, when editors put forth important aesthetic claims by emending the musical text that represented canonical repertoire. This study proposes the reception of interventionist music editions as a type of Work, using the frameworks of aesthetic and literary criticism on Works of Art, and the Goehrian theory of work-concept. From this proposition is introduced the concept of ‘Edition-Text’ as the text of an Edition-Work, which is a separable entity from the text of a Composition-Work. The study applies these notions to the preliminary analysis of publications of canonical piano repertoire, edited by the three contemporaneous pianist-scholars Ferruccio Busoni, Alfred Cortot, and Heinrich Schenker. It commences with a survey of the three editors’ historical and aesthetic contexts, followed by a comparative study of a selection of their respective edited publications, the Busoni-Ausgabe, Editions de travail and Erlaeuterungsausgabe. A range of observations are gathered on the substance and style of the Edition-Texts as manifest by a range of notated and literary phenomena, from which comparisons are made of the editors’ contrasting intentions and ideals concerning the cognition and sensory expression of music. It also considers how these editorial acts, in their critique, extension and worship of the Composition-Text, can be understood as pursuits of artistic ideals that strive beyond the perceived achievements of the referent compositions and composers, and therefore assert their claim to being a Work in their own right. The study concludes with remarks on the opportunities granted by future technologies for the improved presentation of Edition-Works, and suggestions for how performance may be best informed through a wide study of historical and contemporary editions.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    How does a critical analysis of the literature inform recommendations for writing about mindfulness in music therapy practice?
    Tanhane, Anja Franziska ( 2019)
    Mindfulness Based Therapies have become widespread in clinical work, but so far the literature on integrating mindfulness into music therapy has been limited. The thesis presents the results of a critical interpretive synthesis (CIS) investigating the use of mindfulness in music therapy. The CIS of eight published articles examines how music therapists describe the use of mindfulness in their clinical work. A critical examination of the literature presented in the CIS finds that the use of mindfulness is described under the categories of mindfulness-based, Buddhist-influenced, or mindfulness, and discusses some of the difficulties in describing music therapy processes in this way. Based on the findings from the CIS, and drawing on research from the mindfulness literature as well as my experience as a mindfulness teacher, practising Buddhist, and registered music therapist, the thesis then offers recommendations for music therapists who are interested in using mindfulness-influenced practices in their clinical work and research. The word ‘mindfulness’ has become widespread, and can describe almost anything from relaxation to in-depth therapeutic work to the path to spiritual enlightenment. This broad use of the term can lead to a lack of clarity in how the use of mindfulness is described. The thesis will explore the use of language, including the challenges of adapting concepts from other cultures and belief systems. Research into the adverse effects of meditation is discussed, and the thesis argues that due to these possible harmful effects, music therapists using mindfulness in their work might consider additional training, ensuring they understand the theoretical basis, the benefits and the contra-indications of mindfulness-based therapies. There are also indications in the current literature on mindfulness and music therapy that music therapy processes can at times cultivate mindful states in both therapist and client. This could be an exciting area for further research, potentially leading to the development of a new theoretical model of mindfulness arising from within the creative processes of music therapy.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Folio of works
    Lyon, May Catherine ( 2019)
    Master of Music Composition - Folio of Compositions Six original compositions, written from 2016 to 2019, comprising of: - 'On the Inside' for flute, clarinet, cello, and piano. Recording duration of 9 minutes 34 seconds - 'Ode to Damascus' for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. Recording duration of 9 minutes 15 seconds - 'The Fate of Phaethon' for soprano, horn, and string quartet. Recording duration of 15 minutes 51 seconds - 'Echo' for soprano and horn. Video recording duration of 4 minutes three seconds - 'Phosphorus' for solo percussion. Video recording duration of 10 minutes 26 seconds - 'Ignition' for orchestra. Recording duration of 9 minutes 47 seconds
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    The pursuit of originality: aspects of unity and individuality through compositional synthesis
    Alvaro, Lorenzo ( 2018)
    This thesis forms case studies using compositions by its author Lorenzo Alvaro as a catalyst for understanding how originality is manifested in the consistent re-enactment of borrowing and self-borrowing. Understanding how compositions ‘come together’ through ‘Synthesis’ oppose long-debated theories of originality being an innate power giving rise to the notion of ‘genius’. More recent scholarship acknowledge borrowing and collaboration as a means for originality, and based on this, the thesis argues that true originality is nothing more than an ideal.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Staking temporary territories: reconceptualising music performance
    Tan, May-Kim ( 2019)
    This thesis is a philosophical inquiry into the conceptualisation of music and, specifically, music performance. The purpose of the research is to establish a substantial discourse that directly addresses creativity in music performance, shifting the weight of focus from music as a written art to music as a practised craft. This inquiry is a process of unravelling normative concepts, pulling apart fundamental assumptions, and reassembling the remaining pieces to form a new standpoint. This research draws primarily on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze in order to aid the locating and critique of habitual approaches, support an emergent music performance conceptualisation, and offer a perspective through which music performance can be viewed as a locus of creativity. Looking at Lydia Goehr’s The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works and Thomas Clifton’s Music and the a Priori, this thesis shows how traditional approaches to conceptualising music performance events rely on representations of abstract, a priori concepts. Linking this critique with Deleuze’s philosophy in Difference and Repetition, this research establishes the key concept of the Image to articulate these abstract concepts. This critique will show how the Image is problematic because it is an idealised interpretation or representation of music that serves as the goal for performance, that in turn provides the framework within which performance is understood. What precipitates from this problem is an approach to performance that views performers as inhabiting the periphery, subordinate to the idealised musical Image such as the notated score. Furthermore, traditional approaches to music performance is often in terms of what it ought to have been, rather than what it was, or how it took place. Music performance, then, is posited as always derivative, seldom addressed on its own ‘terms,’ and little understood outside of the definitions anchored in a pre-existing of musical works. This thesis contends that that music performance is inherently variable. Thus, thinking about music performance must account for the vicissitudes of a temporal and mobile event, and regard the wider contingents, such as audience, space, and venue, as forming part of the terms of understanding. Concepts and terms extrapolated from key texts by Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, A Thousand Plateaus, The Fold, and Francis Bacon, builds a vocabulary in this research to discuss music performance events as they present in reality. Deleuze’s philosophy provides a positive way of articulating difference in music performance. The study is divided into two parts: the first addresses the normative concepts that limit the understanding of what music performance is, or what constitutes a performance. The fulcrum of the thesis tips the discussion from what constitutes music performance to how music performances actually create. Drawing on two Deleuzean texts, The Fold and A Thousand Plateaus, Part 1 concludes with the findings that music performance is a folded assemblage: thus this reconceptualisation of music performance must abandon the focus on what it is or should be, and redirect the question towards how it presents and how music performances are created. The second part addresses the persistence of normative concepts in the approach to creativity as uncovered particularly in Modernist aesthetics. Highlighting the caution needed when employing Deleuze’s concept of deterritorialisation, Part 2 establishes the importance of grounding the music performance conceptualisation in material reality where the terms that emerge from the moment of performance involve the creative choices that lead to performances taking place. Analyses of actual performances are included to build and incorporate vocabulary and terms that directly specify music performance as a folded assemblage.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Exhibiting music: music and international exhibitions in the British Empire, 1879-1890
    Kirby, Sarah ( 2018)
    Between 1879 and 1890 there was barely a year in which an international exhibition was not held somewhere within the British Empire. These monumental events were intended to demonstrate, through comparative and competitive displays, the development of every branch of human endeavour: from industry and manufacturing, to art and design. They were also a massive and literal manifestation of the Victorian obsession with collecting, ordering, and classifying the world and its material contents. Though often considered in scholarly terms of grandiosity—of Victorian monumentalism and Benjamin-esque phantasmagoria—exhibitions were also social events, attended by individual members of the public for both education and entertainment. Music, as a fundamental part of cultural life in the societies that held such events, was prominent at all these exhibitions. This thesis interrogates the role of music at the international exhibitions held in the British Empire during the 1880s, arguing that the musical aspects of these events demonstrate, in microcosm, the broader musical traditions, purposes, arguments, and anxieties of the day. Further, it argues that music in all its forms—whether in performance or displays of related objects, and whether deliberately or inadvertently—was codified, ordered, and all-round ‘exhibited’ within the exhibition-sphere in multiple ways. Exploring thirteen exhibitions held in England, Scotland, Australia and India it traces ideas and trends relating to music and the idea of ‘display’ across the imperial cultural network. This thesis begins with an historical survey of music and exhibitions in London from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the 1880s, analysed through the lens of contemporary discourses around music and concepts of display, and recent museological scholarship on the presentation of musical art in physical space. Arranged thematically rather than chronologically, several broad concepts relating to music at the 1880s exhibitions are then examined. These include a discussion of musical instruments as spectacularised commodities within the phantasmagoric exhibition space, music as both an educational device and a means of entertainment and leisure in line with contemporary theories of rational recreation, and the ways exhibitions created forums for engagement for Western audiences with non-Western musics.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    ‘Darling Kath’: Benjamin Britten’s music for Kathleen Ferrier
    Mathew, Alexandra ( 2018)
    This thesis examines the career of contralto Kathleen Ferrier (1912–1953), and her collaborations with composer Benjamin Britten (1913–1976). In the late 1940s, Kathleen Ferrier was among the most famous classical singers of her day. Britten was the pre-eminent composer in Britain, composing solos for Ferrier in three major works: the title role in The Rape of Lucretia (1946), the contralto solos in Spring Symphony (1949), and the part of Isaac in Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac (1952). Although their collaboration ceased with Ferrier’s untimely death, Britten’s work with Ferrier was musically and personally significant, and proved influential for the course of Britten’s career and for shaping Ferrier’s legacy. Drawing on diaries, correspondence, and recordings, this thesis examines Britten’s intricate understanding of Ferrier’s voice and ability, the unusual way in which he exploited them, and how Ferrier in turn interpreted and created the premiere performances. In addition, with reference to the writings of J.P.E. Harper-Scott and Carolyn Abbate, this thesis evaluates the nature of the relationship between an influential male composer and the woman who gives voice to a work or role, to address the vexed question whether it is the composer or interpreter who creates that role.