A Conductor's Guide To Performance Issues Arising From The Use Of Eighteenth-Century Pitch Levels In The Performance Of Handel's Four Coronation Anthems

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194723
Title:
A Conductor's Guide To Performance Issues Arising From The Use Of Eighteenth-Century Pitch Levels In The Performance Of Handel's Four Coronation Anthems
Author:
Shawn, Terry Alexander Lee
Issue Date:
2008
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
In this study I attempted to create a historically informed performance of Handel's Four Coronation Anthems at the pitch of a1 = 423, without the benefit of baroque instruments. The issue of lowering the performance pitch from a1 = 440 to a1 = 423 had varying effects on the singers and instrumentalists. Replicating the baroque sound required some modifications to modern instruments and some mental and vocal adjustments for the singers. Several singers experienced vocal relief due to the lowered pitch, while some instrumentalists were faced with re-adjusting their technique to compensate for the modifications made to their instruments. The modifications ranged from exchanging the violin and viola strings from steel to gut to lengthening the oboe reeds and the bassoon's bocal enough to effectively lower the pitch almost a half step, or .17 Hertz (Hz.). Through the aid of audio and visual recordings of the performance and the performer's questionnaires, several discoveries were made about creating a historically informed performance. Primarily, when changing the pitch of a composition, it is better to adjust the pitch in half steps rather than quarter-tone increments. It was further revealed when changing the pitch that some singers experienced difficulty maintaining pitch due to their vocal muscle memory, whereas, some instrumentalists possess varying degrees of individual pitch memory and perception. In order to deal effectively with the issue of maintaining pitch, it was revealed that it is important to have more rehearsal time at the adjusted pitch. With respect to the modifications made to the instruments, it is vital to the success of the performance to allow the players enough time with modified instruments to be able to maintain consistent tuning within the instrument. The musician's individual pitch perception and preference have an affect on the performance, and the conductor would be well advised to refer to the discoveries presented in this document. This study was successful in discovering ways to present a historically informed performance at a pitch other than a1 = 440 and several suggestions for creating further historically informed performances were explored.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Historic Pitch; Modified Pitch; Handel; Four Coronation Anthems
Degree Name:
DMA
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Music; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Chamberlain, Bruce B.
Committee Chair:
Chamberlain, Bruce B.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleA Conductor's Guide To Performance Issues Arising From The Use Of Eighteenth-Century Pitch Levels In The Performance Of Handel's Four Coronation Anthemsen_US
dc.creatorShawn, Terry Alexander Leeen_US
dc.contributor.authorShawn, Terry Alexander Leeen_US
dc.date.issued2008en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractIn this study I attempted to create a historically informed performance of Handel's Four Coronation Anthems at the pitch of a1 = 423, without the benefit of baroque instruments. The issue of lowering the performance pitch from a1 = 440 to a1 = 423 had varying effects on the singers and instrumentalists. Replicating the baroque sound required some modifications to modern instruments and some mental and vocal adjustments for the singers. Several singers experienced vocal relief due to the lowered pitch, while some instrumentalists were faced with re-adjusting their technique to compensate for the modifications made to their instruments. The modifications ranged from exchanging the violin and viola strings from steel to gut to lengthening the oboe reeds and the bassoon's bocal enough to effectively lower the pitch almost a half step, or .17 Hertz (Hz.). Through the aid of audio and visual recordings of the performance and the performer's questionnaires, several discoveries were made about creating a historically informed performance. Primarily, when changing the pitch of a composition, it is better to adjust the pitch in half steps rather than quarter-tone increments. It was further revealed when changing the pitch that some singers experienced difficulty maintaining pitch due to their vocal muscle memory, whereas, some instrumentalists possess varying degrees of individual pitch memory and perception. In order to deal effectively with the issue of maintaining pitch, it was revealed that it is important to have more rehearsal time at the adjusted pitch. With respect to the modifications made to the instruments, it is vital to the success of the performance to allow the players enough time with modified instruments to be able to maintain consistent tuning within the instrument. The musician's individual pitch perception and preference have an affect on the performance, and the conductor would be well advised to refer to the discoveries presented in this document. This study was successful in discovering ways to present a historically informed performance at a pitch other than a1 = 440 and several suggestions for creating further historically informed performances were explored.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectHistoric Pitchen_US
dc.subjectModified Pitchen_US
dc.subjectHandelen_US
dc.subjectFour Coronation Anthemsen_US
thesis.degree.nameDMAen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineMusicen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorChamberlain, Bruce B.en_US
dc.contributor.chairChamberlain, Bruce B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBrobeck, Johnen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSchauer, Elizabethen_US
dc.identifier.proquest2932en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659753416en_US
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