Title page for ETD etd-07032012-123551

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Huettenrauch, Tina
Author's Email Address thuett1@lsu.edu
URN etd-07032012-123551
Title Three Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Performance Practice
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Herlinger, Jan Committee Chair
Boutwell, Brett Committee Member
Giger, Andreas Committee Member
McFarland, Alison Committee Member
Peck, Robert Committee Member
Pizer, John Committee Member
Parker, Rod Dean's Representative
  • Fourth String Quartet op. 37
  • Schoenberg
  • Kolisch Quartet
  • Maro Ajemian
  • Cathy Berberian
  • prepared piano
  • extended vocal techniques
  • string quartet
  • Berio
  • recording history
  • performance practice
  • recording practice
  • Cage
  • Sonatas and Interludes
  • _Sequenza III_
Date of Defense 2012-04-30
Availability unrestricted
Since the middle of the twentieth century, the study of performance practice has increasingly drawn the interest of musicologists; however, despite the extensive documentation pertaining to matters of performance, the twentieth century has largely been neglected. Twentieth-century composers often annotated their scores extensively with indications of tempi, dynamics, and phrasing or included explanatory notes with detailed instructions. Supplemental records, such as diaries, transcripts of coaching sessions, and composers’ commentaries on interpretative issues further shed light on their intentions. Yet a piece is not shaped just by the score and the comments of the composer; rather, it exists diachronically, evolving over time as it is performed.

Thanks to the rapid development of the recording industry, the twentieth century is the first century for which documentation of this process exists in the form of recordings, partial aural records of the performance history of a piece. Recent studies have tried to demonstrate how recordings, especially those supervised by the composer, can suggest or clarify musical decisions in future performances of a piece. The studies have not, however, answered the question whether the recording history of twentieth-century pieces shows the emergence of performance trends.

Focusing on the recording history of three seminal pieces of the twentieth-century repertoire—Arnold Schoenberg’s Fourth String Quartet, John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes, and Berio’s _Sequenza III_—this dissertation examines how trends in performance practice emerge in the recording history of twentieth-century pieces. It investigates whether a certain performance practice is traceable from one recording to the next; whether certain trends are more prevalent at one time than another; and whether, despite the detailed annotations and primary source material available, recordings show a variety of interpretations rather than the emergence of one standard performance practice.

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