Eero Tarasti (email@example.com)
Gabriele Marino (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Lina Navickaitė-Martinelli (email@example.com)
Performer as Meaning-Generator: Semiotic Reflections on Creativity in the Art of Musical Performance
In any process of performing, no matter how much the performer would try to be faithful to the musical text, to merely ‘re-create’ the musical work, there is necessarily an element of interpretation, a subjective modification of the performance’s source. A performance might thus be considered a transition from the mental artistic contents (composer’s idea) and a non-artistic material scheme (score) to another material but already artistic system (sounds). That is why a performance, an individual version of the text’s meaning(s), is not just a mechanical act of reproduction, but rather a distinctive type of creation, a complex and productive act, through which the creative ideas, insights and convictions of a performer are conveyed.
Two main questions are the focus of the present paper: first, how the creativity in musical performance might be conceived in semiotic terms; and, second, what new meanings are generated when the performer’s creative self is embodied in the process of musical performance.
Seeing it from a semiotic perspective, which is the main theoretical viewpoint in the present study, musical performance is understood as a communication model in which a series of coded messages are sent or enacted and their meanings received or decoded. For example, in theatre or opera performance, which have been for a long time subject to semiotic analysis, the meaning is encoded and transmitted through the various systems of staging, such as set, lighting, costume, music, etc. In addition, rich and complex significations are provided by the performers/actors themselves, their bodies, actions and interpretive choices. All this can be said about the art of music performers as well, and, if we think of a musical performance as a mere actualization of a musical score, we obviously overlook (or, consciously deny) the potential density of its semiosis.
In such an analysis of performer’s art, a number of variables of private and public, musical and extra-musical articulation are of research interest. For instance, performers have their own personality and inclinations; they are exposed to different forms of education and influences; they develop certain technical and stylistic abilities; they find certain repertoires more suitable than others; they develop a public persona... All this is in one way or another reflected in the music played. Drawing on the concrete examples of particularly original personalities in piano music performance (such as Valery Afanassiev or Ivo Pogorelich, who, while creating their interpretations, first and foremost draw a creative and distinctively individual musical picture), the present paper is meant to investigate how the artistic, personal and social identity of a musician is communicated through the performance, and what new meanings are created in this process.
Lina Navickaitė-Martinelli is a lecturer and Head of Postgraduate Studies’ Office at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, as well as a doctoral researcher at Helsinki University (Finland). She has edited and co-edited several academic collections, and has been a member of research projects in Finland and Lithuania. She has presented numerous papers at seminars and conferences in various European countries, and published scientific articles at international journals and collections of articles. Her book “The Suite of Conversations: 32 Interviews and Essays on the Art of Music Performance” (Vilnius: Versus aureus, 2010) has been awarded Lithuanian Composers’ Union Ona Narbutienė Prize for innovative research on music performance. Navickaitė-Martinelli focuses her scholarly research on various aspects of the music performance phenomenon, mainly approaching music performance from the semiotic perspective. She is a founder and coordinator of LMTA Headquarters of Artistic Research and Performance Studies (HARPS).
2. MIHAELA-GEORGIANA BALAN, Musicology Department, University of Arts “George Enescu” from Iaşi, ROMANIA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Franz Liszt – a dilemma of stylistic interferences
Equally considered national and universal artist, Franz Liszt has roused a deep process of continuous progresses and radical changes in music, on every level he has undertaken: piano playing, composing, conducting, writing about music. He remained in the history as a complex musician, with a rich activity, maybe the most visionary composer at that time, because his personality was so controversial, that he literally shocked his contemporaries in every parameter of his art. There are numberless books, biographies, treatises, studies, dissertations about his activity, written in different manners and using various analysis techniques. My paper aims at going beyond some texts where Franz Liszt was approached as one-sided figure and outlining his personality as a whole, by pointing some key-elements in his artistic psychology, some deep resorts of his composing principles. In this regard, I have chosen some well-known authors who wrote about Liszt and I have kept the most representative elements of their works to describe him, trying to “catch” the essence of the great Franz Liszt.
Mihaela Balan (n.1987)
Current position: PhD student and associate assistant at „George Enescu” University of Arts, Iaşi.
Graduate of „George Enescu” University of Arts, Faculty of Interpretation, Composition and theoretical musical studies, specialization – Musicology, (2012 – Master and 2010 – Bachelor, at Professor PhD Laura Vasiliu’s class.
From september 2011 until february 2012, she had a scholarship at the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Danse from Lyon (France), during one semester.
She is the winner of many prizes gained at National Musicology Contests, organized in Bucharest or Cluj-Napoca, and Excellency Diplomas offered by “George Enescu” Arts University for special achievements during studies.
She had a rich activity as a student involved in different recitals, concerts, festivals in Iaşi, and also took part to National Symposiums for BA and MA students, later at Musicology Conferences for PhD students and teachers.
- In the semiotic field, she started to be interested in conferences and congresses focused on semiotic research beginning with her participation to IMC (International Musicology Conference) in July 2013, Iaşi, Romania, and to ICoN (International Congres on Numanities), 2-7 June 2014, Kaunas, Lithuania.
3. Sandro Santos Rosa, FACULDADES EST, SÃO LEOPOLDO, RS, BRAZIL
Music as a metaphor of life
The paper looks at the nuances that make music a way of representing the world, relating to it, and concretizing new worlds. It verifies how music is a metaphor of life, of our Self, of the Other, of "Us", and how these relationships are metaphorically present in the musical structure, rhythmically, melodically, contrapuntally, and harmonically, as regards music therapy, semiology, and philosophy. Methodologically, by referring to the studies of Ernst Cassirer and Susanne Langer, the paper shows how music became a means of symbolizing, signifying, and re-signifying human existence through sound and its organization by the human being, as a means of communication that gives meaning to life. Thus, the paper draws some considerations that show the idiosyncrasies of human behavior with music and their interaction with life and the human existence. The article states that music is a way of trans-signifying the real, of communicating, informing, and going beyond what it has already been set, of symbolizing existence as a whole".
Sandro Santos da Rosa é Doctorate student in Theology – Faculdades EST – Master in theology – Graduated in musictherapy – Faculdades EST, São Leopoldo, RS, Brazil. Scholarship recipient supported by CAPES – Brazilian governamental Entity that encourages the scientific research and the formation of human resources. Supervised by PhD. Júlio Cézar Adam. E-mail adress: email@example.com
4. Marjo Suominen, MA, University of Helsinki
Tracking Performance Traditions of Handel´s Opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto is one of his best known and most successful operas. Handel’s melodic skill and creation of musical moods is unique. I will study Handel´s Giulio Cesare and its three fairly recent performance versions via these three theoretical frameworks:
1) geographic European musical rhetoric ideas: (Italian, beauty based; French, stressing effectiveness and German, intellectual-oriented)
2) Raymond Monelle’s (pastoral-epoque, hunting-protest, military-colonialist) musical tropes, and
3) Eero Tarast’s existential semiotic Z-model (as an application for an analysis of the social [self; being-in-itself; SOI] and individual [ego; being-in-myself; MOI] characterizations of the opera).
Classical oratorical-affectual (i.e. based on rhetoric-emotive) doctrines were in use in all arts during the 18th century having had an influence on the theory of music and its overall terminology.
In Giulio Cesare, the affect of love triumphs over that of revenge, and therefore I study how love is defined in the work. This agential duality is modified as a counter-forcible embodiment of the main theme. Thus, affects of love and revenge in the opera appear as a positive revenge (manifested by Caesar) and as a negative revenge (by Ptolemy), and in another duality, as a positive love (by Cleopatra), and as a negative love (by Ptolemy and Achilla). Cleopatra and Caesar are seen as individuals making choices; even if within the framework of moral values set by societies. The performance versions I have chosen to study represent these dualities and rhetoric ideas.
5. Daniel Nagy, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Syntax in musical and literary discourse – the endless melodies of Richard Wagner and Marcel Proust
Richard Wagner, as one of the greatest visionaries in the history of modern arts, had an elemental impact not just on music, but on literature among others. This is not surprising at all if we consider that the greatest novelties of his art are almost all attached to intermediality in some sense. Going beyond the much analyzed and debated notion of Gesamtkunstwerk - which has proved to be at least as problematic as inspiring for contemporary and also for later artistic practice and theory - Wagner adopted many notions of intermedial background in the theoretical reflections on his own creative process.
One of the most interesting of these is the point, when he defines the syntax of his musical phrase-building as musical prose (musikalische Prosa). How can we interpret this notion? The most probable interpretation is that in the phrasing of his music Wagner definitively breaks with classical periodicity and creates a brand new kind of musical syntax. Wagner’s music (at least in the works after Lohengrin) is based on a new - free, irregular and open - kind of musical phrasing instead of the much more regular, symmetric and closed period structure inherited from the classical era, that is to say this music is composed in free prose instead of strict verses.
The prose-like texture of Wagner’s music seems to be obvious; therefore it is quite easy to confer his pieces with the works of writers who were enthusiastic about his art, such as the French novelist, Marcel Proust. The connection between Proust and Wagner have already been raised in music semiotics (such as in the works of Jean-Jacques Nattiez or Eero Tarasti) though I think it is still an interesting field of research from the perspective of intermedial semiotics. In my paper I will try to compare the leitmotif-technique of the German composer and the French novelist, and the narrative syntax in Proust’s novel and Wagner’s music dramas from a semiotical point of view. I hope my paper will successfully demonstrate that semiotics is a perfectly suitable approach in the research of intermedial relations between different art forms and masterpieces appearing in different media.
6. Olaf Hochherz, City University of Hong Kong
The position of the instrument in a semiotic analysis of music and sound art
When we hear the soundtrack of for the soundtrack of Hitchcock movie “The Birds” or the sounds of the sound-installation “Rainforest” we hear more than sounds. We hear how a specific instrument is used to create a certain artwork in a certain way. In the end we hear how the composer Oscar Sala used his instrument the
Mixturtrautonium and how the pianist David Tudor used his self-build electronic circuits to create imitations of birdcalls. We hear a movie soundtrack and a soundinstallation.
I will explain how we can describe how the influence of the instrument on the genesis of the artwork can influence the meaning of the perceived artwork. I will introduce how we can use the Peircean concept of semiosis to describe a technological conditioning of musical meaning. My argument is based on the assumption, that signs are multi-stable, which means it is inherent to a sign that it can always be read in different ways, but only in one way a time. But semiosis as a dynamic process is able to fuse different meanings. As semiosis is always depending on contexts and previous interpretations we can describe how the process of production influence the process of interpretation. Peirce differentiation between classes of signs provides a vocabulary to differentiate between different meanings. This introduction of a semiotics of technology into music semiotics allows me to answer the following questions in regard to the two previous examples: (1) did synthesizers usher in new ways of understanding imitations of “real world” sounds? (2) In what manner did the mode of presentation itself, namely, the film-soundtrack and the sound installation, support the interpretation of sounds as imitation?
In a comparison between different technologies and their usage, I will show how imitations got produced in art works differently and how these differences can be related to the used technology. How instruments synthesizers and recordings introduced different networks of signification when they are used to create imitations of real world sounds like birdcalls.
Olaf Hochherz lives in Hong Kong. He is a sound artist and researcher, mostly performing with self-build electronic instruments and computer programs, developing installations and performance installations. He is interested in the conjunction of the instability and associative capacity of sounds. He got educated at Folkwang Hochschule Essen in electronic composition, Humboldt University Berlin in philosophy and computer science. He graduated with a MFA at Bauhaus University Weimar in sound-art/media-art. Currently works on his PhD research about Imitation in Sound Art at City University of Hong Kong. He presented his electronic compositions at different Festivals. His installations could be realized in Kassel, Taichung and Shanghai. He toured with his performances throughout Central Europe and East Asia.
7) Gabriele Marino (Ph.D.c., University of Turin, Italy; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Preliminary notes to a plastic semiotics and a phonographic enunciation theory of music
1. Towards a plastic semiotics of music
It is possible to account various and sparse suggestions, hints, meditations, statements, and pioneering attempts of analysis being direct towards a “plastic semiotics of music”. Namely, the application to sound and music of the terminological, theoretical, and methodological findings of the plastic semiotics of visual arts (i.e., the distinction between the figurative and the plastic level of pertinence; the identification of the topological, chromatic, eidetic dimensions, and the semisymbolic signification etc.); from an analytical standpoint, but also, and first of all, from a theoretical one, including the conception and definition of music in itself (i.e., conceiving it not only as the “art of time”, but also as an “art of space”; not only as “score”, but also as “(organized) sound”).
I suggest to employ these sparse traces, along with allied stimuli coming from allied subfields, such as the semiotics of passions (e.g., the tensive categories and models), as a starting point to build up a more coherent theory–to–be.
Plastic semiotics represented an innovative and a major perspective in semiotic studies, first unveiled in Algirdas Julien Greimas’ essay “Sémiotique figurative et sémiotique plastique” (1984), and largely developed as regards visual, audiovisual, and plastic arts (painting, photography, design, sculpture, architecture, film); even though it would be quite inaccurate to state the plastic dimension is something dealing with visual texts only, whereas it seems to be a transverse element to the different forms of expression.
The references backing such hypothesis come from different areas of studies: general and applied semiotics; musicology, ethnomusicology, and popular music studies; sound studies; philosophy of music and musical aesthetics; musical practice; graphology etc.
They find fitting exemplifications in a variety of musical facts but, primarily, I maintain, in those classifiable as “electronic”, “concrète”, “electroacoustic” music, and “electronica” (i.e., “electronic popular music”, or “electronic dance music”). All these musical forms are rather heavy on “non–notatable” parameters and technologies, such as: timbre, sound, texture, performatory and phonographic spatialization (the primary dimension of fruition of this kind of music seems to be the listening through a phonographic medium, namely the record and the loudspeakers). Not to mention some of their “poietic”, compositional means, such as: graphic notation, aleatory procedures, hardwares and softwares; or synesthetic theories, and intersemiotic translation purposes (namely, inter– and crossmediality).
The aim of such a proposal is to provide a semiotic background able to guide and justify the empirical approaches which try to construct a type of musical analysis that goes beyond proper notation (e.g., by employing 2D and 3D visual representations, instead of traditional scores), in order to better describe and analyze specific kinds of music.
2. Towards a phonographic enunciation theory of music
What does it mean “diegesis” (“narration”, “telling”), and what does it mean “mimesis” (“imitation”, “showing”), in relation to sound and music? The answers to questions such as these indentify the proper domain of a theory of sonic and musical enunciation; a key issue in the semiotics of music (and, probably, in general semiotics, too), that has never been systematically addressed, as far as I am concerned. According to Anette Vandsø (“I am recording the sound of my speaking voice: Enunciation in Alvin Lucier’s I am Sitting in a Room”, 2012, p. 97), indeed: “although the linguistic theory of enunciation, as introduced by the French linguist Èmile Benveniste (1902–1972), has been of immense importance to the study of many art forms – such as literature, film, visual art and theatre – it has not yet been discussed in relation to sound art”.
In fact, many semioticians have dealt with musical enunciation, but mostly stressing those aspects which are related to the immanent features and elements of the musical performance, such as voice and vocalism (drawing particular attention to the body and the thymic dimension), and the relationship between singing and lyrics (with particular attention to the paradoxes of vocal enunciation).
In order to lay the foundations of what might be called a “phonographic enunciation” theory of music, it would be possible to draw on the proposal of an “impersonal enunciation” – not a deictic, but a metadiscoursive one – made by Christian Metz (“L’énonciation impersonnelle”, 1991) in reference to film. It would be possible to consider the record (the “voice of the record”, “the sound that is played and listened”) as an enunciation entity, a “narrative flow”; i.e., to consider it as a “phonographic shot”. In this perspective, it would be interesting to establish a parallel between profilmic material and “prosonic material”, and between cinematographic language and “phonographic language” (i.e., the manipulation of sound, or the “language of the console”); paraphrasing Metz (“Essais sur la signification au cinéma”, 1972), whereas the sounds on a record have acoustic sources as their referents, the sound effects (equalization, mixing, spatialization etc.) have sounds themselves as their referents.
The translation of the narratological categories proposed by Gerard Genette (“Figure III”, 1972) into sonic and musical terms would be an other important contribution, in the delineation of such an enunciation theory; it would be interesting to consider, in particular, the categories of “duration” (the articulation of the temporal dimension), “mood” (the regulation of the narrative information), and “voice” (the “speaker”, the “teller”), which are closely related to enunciation issues (meant as a game of levels).
It would be of great interest, also, to build up a typology of enunciational debrayage (in opposition to the enunciative one); by which to set the enunciation that is enunciated via voice–singing–lyrics against the enunciation that is enunciated via exquisitely sonic and musical means.
8) Julia Ponzio, University of Bari Aldo Moro
Rhythm as form: some ideas about a syntax of music. The case of madrigalism
I will start in my paper, from the definition of Rhythm given by Benveniste in Problems in general linguistics, when he links the etymology of the word rythmos with the Greek word Rein which has not to do with the division of time, with the scansion of time in equal parts, but rather with the concept of schema, of form. But Rythmos, says Benveniste, means the form in a particular sense because it means not the form as something fixed, realized, but the form in the moment of its formation, that is to say the form in the moment in which it takes form. The image with which Benveniste explains this particular way to intend the form, is the one of waves: their form is inconstant, always in change, always different in itself. I will use this idea of rhythm in order to elaborate a semiotic analysis of “madrigalism”. Madrigalism is an interesting case of interweaving between music and word and writing, because in it musical writing tries to graphically mime or describe the meaning of words. It is a case semiotically very complex: in it the relation between music and word cannot be thought as a classical relation between signifier and signified because madrigalism does not work in absentia, it does not means word if the word is not there, present, visible near it. If in a musical text which contains madrigalisms the singed text is erased or lost, madrigalism disappears, it does not remain as signifier which makes reference to an absent signified. Madrigalism works in presence, in the moment of the encounter between word and music. It can be described as a grafting, as a montage. I will try to reflect on this operation of grating, on this particular encounter between music writing and word, through the Benveniste’s idea of rhythm, starting from a piece that in the contemporaneity uses and problematizes the idea of madrigalism, which is Sciarrino’s 12 madrigali per voci a cappella su haiku giapponesi.
9) Borislav Gueorguiev (NBU), http://bogeo.net
Opera in cinema and cinema in opera
Roman Jakobson (On linguistic aspects of translation) defined three types of translation: rewording, translation in senso stricto, and transmutation. However, for myself one main aspect of the translation stay undescribed by him: I name this type interdiscourse (verbal & non-verbal) translation or transfiguration.
What does in represent I shall describe in some kind of case study, concerning the popularization, even the profanation (for someone, maybe) of the opera productions in the last decades of 20th century. In general, thеse projects were infelicitous (e.g. Rigoletto with Pavarotti and Gruberova filmed in Mantova), so in the end of the 20th century a real nouvelle vague appears: a documentary live representations of opera productions (like Lucia di Lammermoor with Netrebko/Dessay in Met, NYC).
I will focus on 1979 Joseph Losey film production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Lorin Maazel, musical director) and on Francesca Zambello/Robin Lough 2008 live video production of Don Giovanni in ROH, London (Charles Mackerras, musical director). The reception and the evaluation of those two musical events were controversial and with a large amount of ambiguity.
In this analysis the signs of the mass culture will be checked (in comparison of the signs of haute culture) which invades during the last decades the opera stage productions all over the world.
The effects of subtitles (typical for movies) will be also discussed.
Key words: opera, stage production, film production, transfiguration (interdiscourse translation), haute culture, mass culture.
10) MA Grisell Macdonel, University of Helsinki
Traveling Subjectivities: Existential Semiotic Analysis of the Influence of Virtuoso Composer-performers Around the World.
According to the existential semiotics theory the subject is not only a passive receiver of messages and signs that he decodes according to social agreements, rather he or she creates the signs and has a key role in the process of semiosis. The creation of signs, according to Tarasti (2000:12) implies the act of existing by the subject. Subjectivity is an important source of creativity in arts in general. In art music, the subjectivity of the performer has enough room for its expression and can have an important influence in a large scope of musical elements such as interpretation, creation of sound and rhythm, emotional input etc. However as some scholars such as Naomi Cumming (2000) have shown, in practice the subjectivity of the modern performers is often regulated by constrains of art music. This situation has not been always the same. Historically the presence of the performer’s subjectivity has been subjected to distinct philosophic and aesthetic trends and has been decreased, but as it is well known there is historical evidence that shows that previous to the twentieth century the performer’s subjectivity had a more strong presence in art music.
During the nineteenth century the performer’s subjectivity also had an important influence on his cultural and social environment as in the case of virtuoso composer-performers. This paper analyses the influence of the virtuoso composer-performer’ subjectivity (Moi and Soi) on those contexts and it presents an application of the existential signs theory to the study of virtuoso performance (Macdonel, 2009).
During the nineteenth century, music performance started to be transformed into an interpretative art, in other words, performance practices were subjected to a process of standardization with the aim of creation of exact sonic representations of musical works. This new concept of performance affected also the virtuoso composer-performers, and they had to developnew ways for expressing their creativity and virtuosity such as fantasia pieces and soloist concerts. However, the romantic virtuoso composer-performers went beyond that and created a revolution at the technical, musical and performance levels in art music introducingnew ways for composing and listening to their musical instruments.
One of the most important virtuoso composer-performers of the time was the Italian composer, orchestra conductor, singer and double bass player Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889). Bottesini contributed in great manner to the development of the double bass technique, improved the French bow and developed its technique. He composed virtuoso pieces for the instrument, which nowadays are part of the virtuoso repertoire of music schools and conservatories all around the world. The virtuoso performers of the time were also itinerant musicians. Paganini, Liszt and Dragonetti among others traveled to different countries making display of virtuosity and presenting their compositions and technical improvements to the audiences. Bottesini also traveled with his Testore double bass captivating audiences in Europe, Asia, and the whole American continent. The presence of these musicians influenced in different manners and degrees the places they visited. From an existential semiotic perspective this paper analyses the possible effects at socio-cultural levels in some countries created by the presence of the virtuoso composer-performers.
11) Julia Shpinitskaya, University of Helsinki
The Musical Offering of Andrei Tarkovsky.
Quotation: Poetic Logic for Realistic Cinema
Andrei Tarkovsky, the iconic Russian film director, abandoned music as traditional soundtracks in films seeking for naturalism of sound events, introduced into the film space organically, bringing a sense of authenticity and making cinema realistic. Instead of being musical, his soundtracks are composite, mostly formed up by natural sounds, urban noises and electronic music - the last one often disguised as organic sounds and can be scarcely perceived as music, purified of its origins on the director’s demand. Tarkovsky aimed at exploration of new sound forms in order to create cinematographic reality: he thought of sounds as belonging to the cinematographic language that cinema as a new genre has not created, while his ideal composer was rather someone like a “sound- mixer with composer’s hearing”, as mentioned by Eduard Artemiev, the composer whom he worked with on majority of his films.
However, there was an exception made for some music: Andrei Tarkovsky’s only “Musical Offering” is exclusively musical quotations. They include art-music originals (among them especially a lot from J.S. Bach) and quotations in the broader sense as a pre-existent musical material whether it is a Russian folk song, forest herding calls from Sweden, or traditional Japanese flute performance. Quotations appear at particular moment of films, marking them as key points. Above all, their appearance in the film space is greatly intriguing - the more so as Tarkovsky himself rejected metaphoric meaning of the quotations.
The paper is going through Tarkovsky’s sound aesthetics as a basis for his realistic cinema and approaches the function and meaning of the musical quotations relating them to his notion of the poetic logic. According to him, the poetic logic represents patterns of thinking and besides is the associative building principle of memories and dreams - and therefore, while it is closer to reality it makes cinema more realistic. With this approach, compared to metaphor, the meaning of quotation multiplies, becoming ambiguous. Its polysemanticism refers to haiku, Zen philosophy and Japanese art, the principles of which Tarkovsky noticed staring from Solaris: everything and nothing, endless series of senses and pure images in contemplation.
Besides analysis of the quotation materials in the films, these observations rest on the documentary evidence from Tarkovsky’s own notes on the subject in Sculpturing in Time - the book, in which he states his views on art and cinema - as well as on the interviews of the composersand sound-mixers he worked with.