these three parameters may be varied during the course of the note, such as producing vibrato or tremolo. The exact timing, pitch, loudness and timbre of a
notated musical event may be varied by a performer within the limits of time, pitch, loudness, and timbre. Musical experience suggests that the exact boundaries of these categories are determined perceptually and are context-dependent: no tool of measurement can precisely predict when a mistuned tone will start to sound out of tune, or under what circumstances it will be interpreted as a different tone (a semitone higher or lower) by a given set of listeners. Teaching Expressive Interpretation Musical interpretation is traditionally taught by a
combination of imitation, intuition, and trial and error. Teachers often describe the details of interpretation to their students using high-level imagery ("angry," "flowing") that give little direct, detailed, or specific information about expression to their students. The classification of accents presented, along with the
idea that performed accents often reinforce structural accents, may assist music teachers by developing more of a technical vocabulary for the teaching of musical interpretation, just as Clynes’ (1977) theory of “sentics” describes “the relationship between emotional qualities and corresponding musical gestures” (Clynes, 1977, 13). Mawer (1999) conducted a study which tested the same relationship. He had string students perform voice-leading analyses of their scores “as a basis for exploring both expressive and technical possibilities in performance” (Mawer, 1999, 181). Suppose that a teacher asks a student to emphasize a
particular structural accent. A student who is familiar with the approach outlined in this article might be able to identify similar structural accents in the score and then explore the appropriate type of expressive shaping to apply in performance. The student might also mark an entire score with structural accents of various types, then discuss with the teacher which expressive accentuations might be suitable for each.
Marking a multitude of accents does not mean that all
will be equally emphasized in a single performance. A musician must purposefully select accents to bring out, and deliberately neutralize the rest. In one performance, the focus might be on the contour accents; in another, harmonic accents might be highlighted. Through this approach, he or she may then systematically explore interpretations of a given passage that are clearly distinguishable, but nevertheless internally logical. Conclusions Perhaps we may consider musical expression as a
series of fluctuations (dynamic, tonal, metrical, harmonic, etc.) which are related primarily to local features in the music. These local features are identified as types of accents. The word accent is primarily used as a matter of convenience; those who prefer to restrict the use of the word accent to stress or dynamic accent might, for the purpose of this review, consider it to mean a "relatively important event."
Of course the relationship between expressive
performance and structural accents is only part of the equation. Several aspects of expressive performance are difficult to fit into the structural accents mold. For example, a sustained crescendo may lead to an accent on a relatively high structural level (the start of a new section). However, the acceleration that often accompanies such a crescendo cannot easily be accounted for by any of the structural accents described, since tempo typically slows rather than accelerates before important events.
The relationship between timing/dynamics and
musical structure can been broken down into two conceptual stages. In the first stage, the musical structure determines the positions, types, and strengths of the accents. Second, the positions, types, and strengths of structural accents influence fluctuations in timing and dynamics in a performance. Expressive fluctuations are assumed to be centered on a given point in time (the nearby performed accent) but to span a time over which several events may occur. Several nearby structural accents may additionally contribute to a shift in local tempo or dynamic at a particular point in time, by addition or combination of the timing/dynamic associated with each accent. In this way, this model may account for expressive effects that occur on both local and broader levels. Performers however, must not always be exclusively
aware of specific relationships between structural and performed accents in order to produce convincing musical interpretations. Instead, it may be that performers in some cases learn to link specific timing and dynamic profiles to particular types of musical passages by a broader and intuitive kind of pattern association. If so, the question remains as to the origin of the link between structural and performed accents. Perhaps the structural-expressive relationships emphasized here can only develop in a gradual way, as generations of musicians interact to build up a performance tradition. If that is the case, then the present model represents one possible approach. Performance traditions may also include relatively
random timing/dynamic gestures or tendencies that cannot be embodied in any kind of model. This observation, along with the idea that performers bring aspects of their own extra- musical life experiences to their performances ensures that the present model can only account for a part of the complex web of relationships that link musical structure to musical expression.
REFERENCES Bigand, E., Parncutt, R., & Lerdahl, F. (1996). Perception of musical tension in short chord sequences: Influence of harmonic function, sensory dissonance, horizontal motion, and musical training. Perception & Psychophysics, 58, 125-141. Clarke, E. F. (1993). Imitating and evaluating real and transformed musical performances. Music Perception, 10, 317-341.
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