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Technical efficacy for violin improvisation: How not to run out of fingers

Stone, Christopher

Description

This thesis addresses technical and philosophical approaches to improvising on the violin. Violin technique has predominantly been developed and taught within the classical repertoire music context, within which it is rare to improvise. This study argues that significant elements of classical violin technique inhibit improvisation. It does this by responding to a community of improvising violinists that have developed alternative technical approaches that are idiosyncratic and minimally...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorStone, Christopher
dc.date.accessioned2021-06-21T07:54:27Z
dc.date.available2021-06-21T07:54:27Z
dc.identifier.otherb73316118
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/237881
dc.description.abstractThis thesis addresses technical and philosophical approaches to improvising on the violin. Violin technique has predominantly been developed and taught within the classical repertoire music context, within which it is rare to improvise. This study argues that significant elements of classical violin technique inhibit improvisation. It does this by responding to a community of improvising violinists that have developed alternative technical approaches that are idiosyncratic and minimally documented, codified or disseminated. The interface between jazz harmony (and related styles of harmonic language such as New Acoustic) improvisation techniques and fingerboard navigation systems on the violin has not been comprehensively studied. This thesis explores this interface by unpacking the endemic constraints of the violin, responding to related technical and stylistic assumptions, and the technical needs of jazz style improvisation. It elucidates the systems and approaches used by professional improvising violinists to overcome these factors within melodic line improvisation over fast harmonically rich chord progressions found in bebop, post bebop, progressive bluegrass and new acoustic music. This study uses interviews and performances from leading improvising violinists to elicit how their approach to shifting and use of positions relates to the harmonic and melodic content of their improvisations. The collected data was analysed using grounded theory, and resultant theories presented back to the participants to check for efficacy. The primary goal of this study is to develop an efficacy-based technical and mental approach to improvising on the violin, by integrating the harmonic needs of jazz style improvisation with left-hand navigation schemes on the violin. The results show that there are key common features shared by the artists interviewed, and that these philosophical, technical and psychological responses to the needs of improvisation are based on efficacy. These concepts break significantly from traditional classical violin technique and are practiced by violinists with and without classical training. Key findings of the study include how the fingerboard is navigated using constant effortless shifting between and combining of adjacent positions while maintaining the same contact point of the thumb, how locational security is found by audiating harmonically rather than applying physical patterns on the fingerboard, how audiation is connected with fingerings intuitively rather than by applying pre planned systems or patterns, and how these skills are developed. These findings were inducted from the implicit knowledge of practising artists using grounded theory and have not been previously made explicit, applied to pedagogy in a formal way or adequately discussed in the relevant literature, making these findings significant within a variety of fields. Grounded theory provided the ideal framework for this practise-based research project to gather, sort and induct theories from data, allowing previously overlooked phenomena to manifest within the otherwise tightly codified tradition of violin technique. Alongside a submitted thesis, the study includes transcriptions and video tutorials showing examples of key techniques and approaches discovered. This the-sis articulates the principles of this efficacy based technical response to improvising on the violin, and shows the need for further study in pedagogy, detailed mapping of specific artist's navigation styles, comparison with the navigation systems of other string instruments, and comparison with other genres of improvised music such as Baroque, Carnatic and Arabic music.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleTechnical efficacy for violin improvisation: How not to run out of fingers
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorCunio, Kim
local.contributor.supervisorcontactu1040878@anu.edu.au
dc.date.issued2021
local.contributor.affiliationCollege of Arts & Social Sciences, The Australian National University
local.identifier.doi10.25911/NBY3-6D60
local.identifier.proquestYes
local.thesisANUonly.authorfc77ffb1-4b37-428f-8c15-1c749d324d70
local.thesisANUonly.title000000019889_TC_1
local.thesisANUonly.key218ec6a2-e4ed-b63e-43f9-00055503fa3d
local.mintdoimint
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