My artistic research aims to revive the Renaissance practice of improvised counterpoint. My basis will be a close study of ms. Paris, BnF, Esp. 219, a treatise allegedly written by Vicente Lusitano. I will examine and learn the numerous contrapuntal techniques of this source, with the goal of incorporating them into my performances as refined historical skills.
Research rooted in practice will help me to present my artistic output on CD recordings featuring improvised counterpoint. Ultimately, I will be able to bring the results of my research onto the postmodern concert stage at the highest possible artistic level.
The appearance of microphones and loudspeakers allowed composers to explore new musical territories. Until then, grinding noises coming from mechanic of piano or sounds emitted by the pianist were only perceived as disturbing the performance. With the development of amplification, those noises have become sounds that composers could use in a musical discourse.
New pianistic techniques have appeared: inner and outer parts of the instrument are investigated with the hand or with various accessories, while, in turn, properties of these accessories are revealed through their use inside the piano. The pianist himself becomes a study object: he is asked to make amplified finger snaps or tongue clicks, he has to speak, to sing or to whistle in a kind of choreographed show.
Live electronics have brought new steps of amplification, increasing virtuosity, filtering resonance, working on acoustic diffusion. The pianist can then interact and play along with live electronics, expanding the possibilities.
This research will be done from the performers’ perspective, but in collaboration with different composers for experimenting new amplified piano / pianist music.
The limitations of the electric guitar are also the limitations for the composer. Registers, spectrum, resonance, decay: all musical parameters are questioned in the search for a new and unheard sound on the instrument. This research intends to redefine the limits. Not the guitar should be questioned but the instrumentalist playing it, always willing to accept the challenge together with, or via, a guitar maker. Sonic challenges given by composers can, via the performer, result in a variety of modifications to the instrument. The translation of musical ideas written in the conventional musical notation into constructional recommendations for the instrument makes the guitar a fluid, amorphous actor. The triunity composer-guitarist-guitar builder becomes responsible for the improvement of the in-depth understanding of the possibilities of the instrument.
João Carlos Ferreira de Miranda Santos
I would like to investigate what are the philosophical and practical consequences a reappraisal of the 17th-and 18th-century concept of taste may have for general and historical performance practice. Often in primary literature, authors appeal to the necessity of having taste (or good taste) when explaining what good musical expression is. Our contemporary notions, however, differ considerably from what they meant by taste, and reassessing their older meaning might have interesting consequences for how we understand musical performance, composition and style. Furthermore, they suggest that acquiring taste might endow the artist with a practical methodology, which relates musical expression not only to declamation and theater, but also to the arts, history, philosophy and even politics. But in order to appreciate better this older conception, I would like to link it to other fields of research such as Philosophical Hermeneutics, Dramatic Theory, Cultural Darwinism and the Authenticty Debate.