Creating new music for horn through collaborative practice

Smit, Neil (2014-12)

Thesis (MMus) – Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis considers the creative process involved in the composition and performance of new music for the horn. It sets out to describe the challenges and opportunities for composers and performers in this process and the value of collaboration between the two parties. There is a limited body of chamber music that includes the horn in South Africa, possibly because composers are not sufficiently acquainted with the complexities of this instrument and are hesitant to embark on a journey into the ‘unknown’. With few South African horn players devoting themselves to the performance of chamber music and particularly new music, little engagement has taken place between horn players and composers in the pursuit of new, idiomatic works for this instrument. This precipitated the researcher’s investigation into the composer-performer collaborative process, resulting in three commissions for chamber music including horn by South African composers Antoni Schonken, Keith Moss and Allan Stephenson. The collaborative process was central to these commissions in order to promote the concept of idiomatic horn writing. This research comprised three case studies, each documenting the creative process surrounding each commissioned work from inception of the work through the compositional process and rehearsals leading up to a performance. In order to generate a detailed report on each case study, data were collected throughout by means of reflective journaling and audio recordings, supplemented by interviews with participant composers and performers. The research revealed numerous technical intricacies composers need to be familiar with when writing for horn, and which may not be addressed in orchestration texts or other literature. Horn players may also be confronted with unconventional writing with new musical and technical challenges. Collaboration was shown to be of immense value in guiding the composer towards appropriate and effective writing for the horn, with the expertise of the performer being a source of knowledge for the composer. One of the main benefits that accrued to the performer through the collaborative process with the composer was the acquisition of valuable interpretative insights into the work to be performed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis stel ondersoek in na die kreatiewe proses rakende die samestelling en uitvoering van nuwe horingmusiek. Daar word gesoek na ‘n beskrywing van die uitdagings en geleenthede waarmee komponiste en kunstenaars in so ‘n proses te make het en die waarde van samewerking tussen bogenoemde twee partye. In Suid-Afrika is daar ‘n beperkte hoeveelheid kamermusiek waarby die horing ingesluit word. Die rede wat hiervoor aangevoer kan word, is dat komponiste waarskynlik nie oor genoegsame kennis beskik rakende die fynere tegniese aspekte van horingspel nie. Hul is gevolglik huiwerig om met die onbekende te eksperimenteer. Aangesien weinig Suid-Afrikaanse horingspelers belangstel in die uitvoering van kamer- en veral nuwe musiek, bestaan daar min betrekkinge tussen horingspelers en komponiste in die soeke na nuwe, eiesoortige werke vir hierdie instrument. Bogenoemde het die navorser aangespoor tot ‘n ondersoek na ‘n komponis-kunstenaars medewerkingsproses. Die eindproduk was drie kamermusiek-opdragwerke (horing ingesluit) deur die volgende Suid-Afrikaanse komponiste: Antoni Schonken, Keith Moss en Allan Stephenson. Die medewerkingsproses was van kardinale belang tydens die skep van hierdie opdragwerke met die oog op die bevordering van eiesoortige horingkomposisies. Die navorsing het uit drie gevallestudies bestaan: die eerste studie het die kreatiewe proses van elke opdragwerk gedokumenteer vanaf die eerste pogings regdeur die komposisieproses en vooraf-repetisies tot die uitvoering van die werk. Data is deurgaans deur middel van reflektiewe joernaalinskrywings en oudio-opnames versamel ten einde’n gedetailleerde verslag van elke gevallestudie daar te stel. Bogenoemde is aangevul deur onderhoude met die betrokke komponiste en kunstenaars. Die navorsing het verskeie tegniese ingewikkeldhede uitgewys waarvan komponiste bewus moet wees wanneer daar vir die horing gekomponeer word. Hierdie fynere aspekte word dikwels nie in orkestrasietekste of ander literatuur behandel en bespreek nie. Horingspelers kan ook gekonfonteer word met onkonvensionele komposisies met nuwe musikale en tegniese uitdagings. Die samewerkingsproses tussen komponiste en kunstenaars was uiters waardevol; aangesien dit die komponis gehelp het om toepaslike en sinvolle werke vir die horing te komponeer met behulp van die kunstenaar se kundigheid en kennis. Deur die loop van die samewerkingsproses kon die kunstenaar veral baat by die waardevolle wenke van die komponis rakende van die uivoering van die betrokke werk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95843
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