Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    The ripieno bass section of the Dresden Hofkapelle during the reign of August the Strong, 1709–1733: players, repertoire, performance
    Hogan, Shelley Christine ( 2017)
    This thesis examines the ripieno bass section of the Dresden Hofkapelle during the period 1709–1733, the final twenty-five years of the reign of Saxon Elector and King of Poland August the Strong (1670–1733). It was especially during this quarter century when significant changes to the membership, structure, and direction of this pan-European ensemble took place. There are three strands of the inquiry—players, instruments, and repertoire. After an introduction setting out the court’s musical life, each strand is explored through documentary archival and music manuscript studies, and contemporaneous writings. Biographies of the orchestral musicians associated with ripieno basso instruments are presented in chronological order by year of first court service and drawing on archival research. These men ranged from internationally famed individuals of the stature of lute virtuoso Silvius Leopold Weiss to numerous colleagues largely forgotten through the course of history. Personnel and other court records provide insight into the musical style and career activities each musician would have brought to the ensemble. As a group, these individual stories build a fascinating picture of the changing experience of being an orchestral musician at a major German court during the early eighteenth century. Especially relevant to understanding bass performance practices is the question of which instrument types were in use in Dresden. This point is discussed in detail. Local evidence of instruments, terminology and association with individual careers are drawn on to build a case for a more detailed understanding of changing practices, including the rising prominence of contrabass bowed strings and demise of basse de violon use. Examples of the third strand, select repertoire case studies, are presented where they are most meaningfully connected to material examined. Therefore these are placed next to individual biographies and instrument discussions. Available evidence suggests the Dresden Hofkapelle was indeed a crucible for the mixing of national French, Italian and local musical styles in the early eighteenth century, and that this was of particular importance for the realisation of the ripieno basso; however, studies of continuo practices cannot adequately capture what occurred in the larger ripieno basso. This is because an essential aspect of the full bass section is the reinforcing and potential for 16-foot doubling bass instruments not part of the core improvisatory group of the continuo, and this is not consistently covered by continuo studies alone. This study argues that significant changes to the Dresden Hofkapelle's membership, structure, and direction occurred in the period 1709–1733, and further that practices of Dresden were crucial to the development of the modern orchestra and styles of performance.
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    The greatest show on earth : King Kong : a music theatre event and the dawn of the megamovical
    Munro, Rachael ( 2017)
    This thesis is an examination of recent trends in musical theatre, focussing on the 2013 musical King Kong: A Music Theatre Event as a case study. It discusses the recent musical theatre landscape, demonstrating how King Kong is part of a growing trend of Broadway shows that have turned to Hollywood for inspiration. It then locates the musical within the rich history of the King Kong narrative, with a particular focus on the three most prominent King Kong films: the original from 1933 and two remakes from 1976 and 2005. Finally it describes the creation and development of the musical, before moving into an extensive synopsis (complete with the placement of musical numbers and images from the show), and ending with an analysis of the music, book, and underlying commentary. I argue that the King Kong musical is an early exemplar of a new genre of musical theatre: the ‘megamovical’, a new generation of the megamusical, as defined by Jessica Sternfeld in her book of that name, with a particularly close relationship with the film upon which it is based, and briefly examine other examples from recent Broadway shows.
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    ‘The Trumpeter Re-Conceived’: An investigation of the creative and performative skills required in New Music Theatre works
    Hermans, Sef ( 2017)
    THESIS ABSTRACT This thesis investigates the demands of New Music Theatre on the trumpeter engaging with this art form. It asks what are skills necessary to engage with the challenging works written for trumpet in this genre over the past decades? How are these skills acquired? Also, since one of the ‘new’ aspects of this type of work is the increasing demand of creatively and collaboratively devised works, how can the trumpeter learn to work in this environment? The need for the research is driven by the fact that the New Music Theatre repertoire that has emerged is still not integrated into mainstream expert learning, despite much being some 60 years old and offering an exciting and challenging scope for the instrumentalist. Indeed, the ‘new requirements’ demand multi-tasking and gives the performer a theatrical focus, moving away from the static recital platform to being able to embrace the dynamic of movement and dramatic action. Thus, although exciting, this ‘new’ approach remains an area of relatively little study from the performance perspective.
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    Music therapy teaming and learning: how transdisciplinary experience shapes practice in an autism specialist school
    Arns, Bronte ( 2017)
    Music therapists are increasingly working in teams alongside professionals from other disciplines, in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary frameworks. However, in recent decades, discipline-specific teams of music therapists are also appearing as part of larger health care and special education organisations. Whilst research literature on collaboration between music therapists and other professions is growing, there is a lack of understanding around how the experience of transdisciplinarity may shape music therapy practice over time. There is also a lack of literature around the experience of teams of music therapists working together, and how their practice is impacted by collaboration within, and across disciplines. This study is set at Giant Steps Sydney, a transdisciplinary, specialist school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In this setting, five music therapists integrate their practice across all programs, teaching and learning across multiple layers of teaming. To explore the lived experience of this music therapy team and the factors informing their practice, a qualitative, phenomenological approach was taken, with data collected through semi-structured interviews. Throughout the study, a range of reflexive strategies were drawn upon, as the researcher navigated the roles of team leader, clinician and researcher. Results of the individual and group data analyses revealed that the layers of teaming in a transdisciplinary environment provide a rich source of learning, support and satisfaction for the music therapist. Group Themes voiced a number of considerations for leading music therapy teams, including the music therapists’ preferred styles of professional learning, the value of diversity and creativity in team collaboration, and the importance of peer support in building resilience. Three professional issues for the music therapist in transdisciplinary schools were uncovered, including the benefits and challenges of working with individuals and groups with self-regulation challenges, working across the school day in non-music therapy programs, and building trusting relationships with support staff in music therapy sessions. When viewed through the lenses of systems theory and transdisciplinarity, the experiences of the music therapists, the team leader and the school leadership team formed interactive layers within the school system. Each layer was articulated as a practice cycle, involving a range of professional responsibilities to ensure best practice and a healthy team culture. A reflexive analysis highlighted a number of implications for the music therapy team leader, including the need to create a collaborative, creative space where diversity is welcomed, and to provide a bridge between the music therapy team and the school executive. The findings of this study begin to illuminate the experience of music therapists working simultaneously in teams of music therapists, and within a transdisciplinary school model. An understanding of system leadership is paramount to the growing number of creative arts therapy teams around the world.
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    Developing a model and practice for vocal condition adaptation
    Hulcup Tomaschitz, Caitlin Elizabeth ( 2017)
    This research project investigates vocal challenges commonly associated with preparation and performance of classical voice repertoire with wide ranging demands. It examines the challenges of managing a broad performance repertoire, especially when switching between varied vocal tasks in restricted time periods. To identify challenges that singing a broad repertoire may entail, the thesis reports interviews conducted with specialist vocal coaches, professional classical voice performers and medical professionals, and the author reflects on her own process as a performer transitioning through the diverse repertoire contained in the portfolio. Extracts from these recordings also serve as material for a quantitative test case in acoustic analysis. A working model is developed from collating the perspectives of all the chapters, examining how vocal condition adaptations (VCA) may become embodied in practice.
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    Memorialising tragedy: bushfires, floods, 9/11, the Gulf War, and five minimalist influenced musical works
    Groch, Andrew ( 2017)
    Tragedy has long been tied to artistic response. Visual, dramatic, and musical artists have memorialised tragic events and the human reaction surrounding them. This is an important part of contributing to aeons of cultural history and creating memorial spaces. This thesis analyses a selection of works which memorialise tragedy: Symphony Da Pacem Domine for Orchestra (1991) by Ross Edwards, On the Transmigration of Souls for Orchestra, Chorus, Children’s Chorus and pre-recorded sounds (2004) by John Adams, WTC 9/11 for String Quartet and pre-recorded Voices and Strings or Three String Quartets and pre-recorded Voices (2011) by Steve Reich, Symphonia Eluvium for Orchestra and Choir (2011) by Elena Kats- Chernin, Fire Music for Orchestra (2011) by Brett Dean. The musical language of these compositions is examined to drive a discussion of how concepts such as vertical listening, Negative Space, and temporal experience facilitate their function as memorial spaces. By applying a framework of interdisciplinary techniques to the musical analysis, the investigation of these works is also considered in relation to sociological significance. This discussion attempts to better understand how composers writing in disparate styles might have recourse to Minimalist aesthetics in commemorating tragedy.
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    Are You in Tune?
    Jensen, Miranda ( 2017)
    This research explores the experiential and practical performance aspects arising through using Pythagorean Tuning. The focus is primarily on the application of the tuning system in the creation, performance and apprehension of new music. This research is supported by practice led enquiry where the primary researcher collaborated with a number of producers to create an original album of contemporary music. A second album was produced which explored a range of musical styles through re-imaging Christmas carols.
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    From social connectedness to equitable access: an action research project illuminating the opportunities and the barriers to accessing music for young people with disability transitioning from school to adult life
    Murphy, Melissa Amy Irving ( 2017)
    The action research project described in this thesis emerged from a partnership between the Community Inclusion Team of a large, not-for-profit disability service organisation in Australia (the Organisation) and the National Music Therapy Research Unit at the University of Melbourne (NaMTRU). The project developed following a question from the Organisation about how music could be an engaging part of young people’s lives as they transitioned from school to adult life. Community inclusion team members of the Organisation had identified that young people who accessed their services, many of who live with more complex disabilities, often experienced challenges in establishing a sense of social connectedness during the transition. The Organisation were interested in how involvement in music may play a role in addressing this challenge. As such, the project began with a focus on the role of music in social connectedness for young people. However, as the project unfolded, the focus began to broaden into the more pressing issue of equitable access to music. The project developed amid the backdrop of the introduction of a new disability funding model in Australia, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This change within the disability sector has had a significant influence on many aspects of this inquiry. An action research approach (Reason and Bradbury, 2008) was used for the project within a transformative paradigm (Mertens, 2009) as it relates to issues of social justice and human rights. This framework encompasses the aim of personal and social transformation within communities that experience oppression and discrimination. Grounded in community music therapy theory and disability studies, the project took the form of four cycles of planning, action and reflection. Cycle 1 involved a critical interpretive synthesis of the literature. Cycle 2 involved semi structured interviews with young people accessing the Organisation to learn about their experiences of social connectedness. Cycle 3 involved focus group discussions with facilitators of music programs accessible to young people to begin building a picture of opportunities to access music and finally, cycle 4 involved the establishment of an ongoing, collaborative community music program with a group of young people. Findings indicate that young people with disability lack sufficient opportunities to access music as a resource in their lives. A variety of opportunities exist that offer different ways of participating in music, but barriers to this participation are continually faced. These include limitations on independent access to information about the existence of programs and opportunities, inadequate funding for independent action and a lack of community infrastructure to accommodate people with differing needs. Once an opportunity was made available in this project, young people embraced the chance to work collaboratively to create the music program into what they needed. This included growing the group membership to satisfy social needs, taking on leadership and marketing roles, making group decisions about the music, the venue and performances. The research project outcomes have implications for roles and actions for music therapists and other facilitators of music programs aimed at a structural level to increase opportunities for young people to access music as a resource in their lives.
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    master of music composition folio
    Martin, Caerwen Beth ( 2017)
    A folio of compositions by Caerwen Martin with short written introduction.
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    Applying György Sándor's basic technical patterns to Chopin’s Études Op. 10 and Op. 25: a commentary, annotated score and CD recording
    Noh, Jisook ( 2017)
    This study applies György Sándor’s basic technical patterns to Chopin’s Études Op. 10 and Op. 25, as a means of reducing physical discomfort and technical challenge. Chopin’s Études are regarded as some of the most significant works of the piano literature, especially due to the high technical skill and artistic virtuosity they require from the performer. Pianists are often faced with technical and physical problems while they are learning these challenging pieces. Taking as a framework Sándor’s book titled On Piano Playing: Motion, Sound and Expression, I propose that his method can be applied to assist in overcoming the technical issues presented by the Études. György Sándor (1912 – 2005) established the fundamentals of a technical approach for playing the piano without physical obstacles, emphasising the appropriate utilisation of arm and wrist muscles. He also generated symbols for these patterns to convey their execution on a score so that they can be incorporated into the learning process. Even though various pianists and pedagogues have published on the technical challenges of the Chopin Études, no specific discussion of the application of Sándor’s technical patterns to Chopin’s Études exists to date. The primary aim of this research is to apply Sándor’s basic technical patterns to each of Chopin’s 24 Études in order to ascertain their effectiveness in diminishing performance-related pain and overcoming technical problems. Through a process of experimentation, my research resulted in two main outcomes: an applicable technical guide to the study of the Études, in the form of an annotated score employing Sándor’s own symbols, and my own performance of the complete Études Opp. 10 and 25, which is recorded on the CD. This study comprises five chapters. The first focuses on the Twenty-four Études, including a literature review and a survey of editions that were considered for the production of my annotated score. The second chapter concentrates on György Sándor and the relevant literature on his method and other pedagogues of his time. The third chapter discusses Sándor’s technical patterns and explains his symbols. The fourth chapter outlines my methodology, explaining how the annotated score was produced. The last chapter presents the commentary and annotated score for each of the études.