Interrogating the own: a practise-based, auto-ethnographic reflection on musical creation with reference to the work of Abdullah Ibrahim, Zim Ngqawana and Kyle Shepherd

Shepherd, Kyle (2018-03)

Thesis (MMus)--Stellenbosch University, 2018

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis examines my artistic practice as musician, improviser and composer as a research process. Auto-ethnographic reflections on my performances, whether on the jazz bandstand, in the recording studio or in informal improvisation sessions, enable me to illuminate and analyse the artistic process, thereby contributing to artistic research in jazz. Discussions of practice-based research (also known as artistic research) and auto-ethnography as methods serve as theoretical points of departure. I situate this study as practice-based research, and argue that auto-ethnography offers a particularly suitable mode to reflect on the deeply individual nature of improvisation as an exploration and realization of the self. In the first chapter, I explore the processes of learning, transmission and artistic development in jazz practice, particularly with reference to two musicians who shaped my artistic development, Abdullah Ibrahim and Zim Ngqawana. Situated outside of formal institutions, the artistic development I describe emerges as an improvisatory process in itself, since musicians select their own musical models and influences to hone their practice. The second chapter presents a reflection on the processes involved in creating my practice of improvising, composing and performing. I consider the importance of what I call a situational awareness, and the different dynamics and challenges inherent in three modes of my work: solo playing, ensemble playing, and film music composition. In the third chapter, I explore how the above influences and dynamics (discussed in Chapters 1 and 2) come into play in the performance portfolio that forms the practical component of this degree. This thesis, therefore, forms one component of a practice-based Masters degree, which compliments and expands the performance portfolio submitted.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie tesis ondersoek ek my kunspraktyk as musikus, improviseerder en komponis as navorsingsproses. 'n Outo-etnografiese besinning oor my uitvoerings, synde op die jazz podium, in die opname ateljee of in informele improvisasie sessies, stel my in staat om die artistieke proses te belig en te analiseer, en daardeur 'n bydrae te maak tot artistieke navorsing oor jazz. As 'n teoretiese vertrekspunt, bespreek ek praktyk-gebaseerde navorsing (ook bekend as artistieke navorsing) en outo-etnografie as metodologieë. Ek stel die studie bekend as praktyk-gebaseerde navorsing, en argumenteer dat outo-etnografie „n gepaste modus is om die individuele aard van improvisasie as verkenning en vergestalting van die self, te ondersoek. In Hoofstuk 1 verken ek leer-, oordrag- en artistieke ontwikkelingsprosesse in jazz-praktyk, met besondere verwysing na twee musikante wat vormend was vir my eie artistieke ontwikkeling, naamlik Abdullah Ibrahim en Zim Ngqawana. Die artistieke ontwikkeling wat ek beskryf, wat dikwels buite formele instansies plaasvind, is 'n improvisatoriese proses op sigself, aangesien die musikuus sy eie musikale modelle, invloede en leerproses bepaal. Die tweede hoofstuk is „n besinning oor my eie improvisasie-, komposisie- en uitvoeringspraktyk as proses. Ek ondersoek die belang 'n “omgewingsbewussyn”, en die onderskeie dinamika en uitdagings in drie modusse waarin ek werk: solospel, ensemble spel en filmmusiek komposisie. In die derde hoofstuk bespreek ek hoe die bogenoemde invloede en dinamika (soos bespreek in Hoofstukke 1 en 2) inspeel op die uitvoeringsportefeulje wat ek inhandig as die praktiese komponent van hierdie graad. Hierdie tesis is derhalwe een komponent van 'n praktyk-gebaseerde Meestersgraad, wat die ander komponent, die uitvoeringsportefeulje, uitbou en komplimenteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103764
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