Doctoral Degrees (Music)

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    Heyr, himna smiður: the sacred a cappella SATB works of Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013)
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Valsson, Bragi Þór; Lüdemann, Winfried; Berger, Martin; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Department of Music.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Very little research exists on the work of 20ᵗʰ and 21ˢᵗ-century Icelandic composers and none in particular on Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson's sacred choral music. This project aims to fill this gap by presenting analyses, performances and recordings of the majority of the composer's sacred a cappella compositions for mixed choir. The analyses attempt to answer the question whether it is possible to describe conclusively the composer's sacred choral works. To complement this, I also formed a choir for the purpose of rehearsing, performing and recording 32 of these works in two concerts in May 2022. Although it is challenging to describe Þorkell's varied compositional style, it can be said that much of his music is characterised by shifting tonal centres, frequently changing time signatures, use of ostinato and a significant emphasis on word painting. However, several pieces are straightforward songs in a key or mode that mostly follow conventional harmonic and rhythmic compositional principles. Much of Þorkell's choral repertoire is difficult for a choir to learn and requires significant planning by the conductor. In addition to the analytical findings, this project also contributes to our understanding of Þorkell's music by means of high-quality audio recordings of 32 compositions, 20 of which are first-time recordings. In this sense the project represents a contribution to what is widely known as practice-based research. The author hopes this research will be of use to future generations of conductors interested in studying and performing Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson's choral compositions.
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    Tygerberg Children's Choir: history and identity
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Lamprecht, Dorathea Julia; Van Niekerk, Caroline; Venter, Carina; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Department of Music.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explores the history and identity of the Tygerberg Children’s Choir (TCC) in South Africa, rooted in Afrikaner culture, and its transition to and continuation as a multicultural children’s choir. Founded in 1972, the choir and its long-time conductor, Hendrik Loock, have achieved numerous national and international accolades. Together with his wife Theresa, an accompanist, music teacher and arranger of music, Loock has been instrumental in raising the standard of school, regional, university and related choirs in the Western Cape and nationally. The dissertation uses a qualitative, holistic, single, intrinsic case study methodology to better understand TCC choir identity in the context of a drastically changed political dispensation. Drawing on archival data, non-participant observations and qualitative face to face semi-structured interviews, a reconstruction of the TCC’s identity is offered spanning 1972-2019. Identity Process Theory (IPT), as framed by Glynis Breakwell and Rusi Jaspal, provides a lens to investigate TCC group identity whilst considering social and historical contexts. As indicated for qualitative IPT work, data was analysed according to Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke’s Thematic Analysis (TA), by applying a constructionist reflexive orientation. Conceptual preferences are informed by an idealist ontology and an integrated social constructionist/constructivist epistemology within an interpretivist worldview. This account of TCC history shows interrelated influences on processes of choir identity construction, such as cultural, geographic, socio-political and religious contexts as well as racial, language and demographic representation in the TCC, choir composition, role players and purpose intricately interwoven with the TCC’s unique choir sound, repertoire, performance style and associated artefacts. Four themes and eight sub-themes were generated from the TCC collection in the DOMUS archive holdings, ninety eight hours of non-participant observation of choir rehearsals and a transcription dataset of twenty nine interviews. The interconnected main themes indicate the influence of the conductor, adult volunteers, choristers and transformative change on TCC identity construction. The TCC has been viewed as a place of belonging for music loving children and adults and with a mutual determination for choral excellence. Success and continuity as main motivators for change and sameness and linked to the conductor’s views and personality have been suggested. Continuous financial challenges due to limited funding and of unceasing parental support and volunteerism through community service in sustaining a choral music educational cause are explored. Musically gifted choristers and their exceptional contributions in providing the choral product whilst gaining musical, educational, personal and social life skills are described. The most significant change in TCC identity is specified as becoming more representative of the country’s overall racial dispensation. Embracing diversity and multicultural enrichment and continuing social bridging whilst sustaining a dominant Afrikaner leadership core are confirmed as part of TCC identity. Accessibility is complicated by socio-economic, cultural and demographic factors which enhance exclusivity. Acceptance of challenges, acting in solving these from within their extended TCC management team and subsequently finding new meaning therein are indicated as significant coping processes in fostering this internationally rated children’s choir under one conductor for almost fifty years.
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    Mapping composers' experiences of contemporary film score composition processes in South Africa
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Dreyer, Jesse; Roux, Gerhard Wachtendonck; Schonken, Philip Antoni; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Department of Music.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : The experiences of film score composers working in South Africa is under-represented in academic literature. Known factors such as limited resources, competing artistic visions, negotiations between role-players, emotional stress, and variations in working processes are largely based on Hollywood film industry practices. This study explores key concerns of film s core composers working i n S outh Africa in particular, drawn from their own accounts by means of grounded theory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and common themes between participant accounts explored, categorised, analysed, and placed into dialogue with extant literature. Three central categories that emerged from the data suggest that the key concerns of film score composers in South Africa relate to experiencing intrinsic value in film s core composition work, c reative control, and rapport building. Experiencing intrinsic value motivates composers to engage with and enjoy their work despite typically unfavourable working conditions. Creative control relates to the need for autonomy when engaging in creative work. Perceived factors influencing this can be categorised by limitations from the client, from the industry, or from the composers themselves. Rapport building strategies employed by film score composers involve building and maintaining friendships, chasing repeated collaborations, and doing favours and working for free. This is done to get work, to increase trust and creative control, to improve communication and understanding between role players, and to pursue collaborative environments.
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    Future-focussed music education: developing 21st-century competencies in a South African middle school music classroom
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-04) Mullins, Angela Catherine; Lucia, Christine; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Department of Music.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Educators world-wide find themselves in the challenging position of educating young adolescents for a future in which exponential knowledge doubling will become a reality. Together with the medical prognosis of a much longer life span for this age group and a radical restructuring of the global economy, the implication is that today’s youth will need the skills to negotiate a much longer career of self-employment through a succession of jobs, often collaborative in nature and mostly Internet-driven. These factors have triggered a shift, worldwide, from a knowledge-based school curriculum to a competency-based curriculum. Using a constructivist and humanistic theoretical framework, this dissertation explores the impact that a competency-based music curriculum could make in the development of the 21st-century competencies that students will need to thrive in the workplace of the future. It also investigates which pedagogical methods could be most effective in developing these competencies, what types of feedback students might find most effective, how an explicit focus on 21st-century competencies can assist students in their development of these skills, and which of the competencies developed through music can be transferred into other learning areas. An extensive literature review that identified the most pertinent set of 21st-century competencies is followed by a detailed description and evaluation of a teacher-based case study I conducted in a Johannesburg private school music class consisting of 23 students aged 12-13 years. I designed a year-long class music course using L Dee Fink’s taxonomy of significant learning (2003) and collected data through rubric-based observations, student self-assessments, and focus groups. This data, collected over four research cycles and a final assessment, was collated into competency profile maps that illustrate the growth and development of the competencies. The main finding is that an explicit focus on 21st-century competencies in a music curriculum, in conjunction with the pedagogical methods of project-based learning, gamification, and blended learning, have an uneven but positive impact on students’ development of these competencies. A secondary finding is that such competency development through music can be adapted to other subjects, schools and locations. In an age of Covid-19, another significant finding is that teaching and assessment that is heavily Internet-based can be no less successful in music than in any traditional ‘academic’ subject.
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    Artistic experimentation through decolonial sound projects for clarinet
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-04) Liebenberg, Visser; Muller, Stephanus; Pauw, Esther Marie; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Department of Music.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explores the sounding capacity of the clarinet through decolonial projects. This study’s sound projects are infused by a decolonial imperative that invokes the conglomerate concept of modernity/(de)coloniality (Walter Mignolo, 2012: 90). Mignolo’s term, together with his notion of decolonial aestheSis operate as turbines from which to explore the sounding capacity of the clarinet, an instrument that is conventionally situated in a largely Western music practice. In my research, the clarinet, as well as the researcher, encounter endogenous sounds and thereby engage in processes of sound translation. The method of investigation used is that of artistic research and specifically artistic experimentation that relies on generating knowledge from practice and reflecting on the generated knowledges, as possible avenues for exploration. The avoidance of a potentially opportunistic use of a decolonial imperative for a sound translation process directs this study towards the researcher’s creation of an index of clarinet sounds. This index is codified as a list of newly improvised sounds and from this index a collaborative creation process for a new composition emerges. The new composition, created with the composer Pierre-Henri Wicomb, is composed, notated and performed by the researcher. Throughout this study, various decolonial encounters are staged ranging from interaction with musicians and dancers, discussions with colleague artistic researchers, as well as two research performance events, one in front of a small group of participants at the Percival Kirby Collection of Indigenous instruments, and the other in front of a much larger audience at the Stellenbosch University Museum. The experiments presented through this research delink the clarinet from Western performance practice and its discourses, so that novel avenues for exploring the sounding capacity of the clarinet, and the situatedness of the clarinet player, arise. Resulting knowledges and further questions from the various research processes crystallise into consideration of how a decolonial imperative confronts, questions, and enhances the sounding clarinet, together with how these processes morph with the identity of the clarinettist-researcher. The research finds that a decolonial imperative does indeed transform the sounding capacities of the clarinet, so that the clarinet practice of the researcher itself, as well as its contexts of influence, are shifted into forms of sonic migrancy. Aspects such as these are documented and clarified through self-reflexive writing in the dissertation. The research presented in the thesis is paired with film footage of sound experiments, as undertaken throughout the research.