Indications Concerning Contemporaneous Performance Practice in the Prose Writings of William Billings

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/222835
Title:
Indications Concerning Contemporaneous Performance Practice in the Prose Writings of William Billings
Author:
Stevens, Alan
Issue Date:
2012
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:
Choral music in the United States before 1800 was almost exclusively composed by tunesmiths who also worked as singing masters. William Billings (1746-1800) was the most prolific of these composers, and, in 1770, he was the first individual in North America to publish a collection composed entirely of his own works. This collection was known as a tunebook, and was designed to assist in the teaching of musical fundamentals and vocal performance in the singing schools. Five additional tunebooks followed; three of these six contained lengthy prose introductions in which Billings addressed pedagogy, music theory, and sight singing. This prose provides important information about the performance practice of the period, including the issues of accompaniment, articulation and text, dynamics, balance and voicing, ornamentation, and vocal timbre. Previous researchers have often mistakenly grouped the music of the tunesmiths with the later southern hymnists. This has distorted many general notions of historically informed performance practice for the pre-1800 tunesmiths. An examination of what Billings specifically says regarding issues of performance practice in his tunebook introductions, as well as inferences from additional prose material, will help to guide modern conductors to more historically appropriate performance practice. A comparison of this information to prior research will isolate approaches that have previously been considered accurate performance practice, but may, in fact, be inappropriate for choral music of this genre. Finally, an understanding of the intended purpose of the compositions, as well as the historical context, will help to inform performance practice.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Music; Performance Practice; William Billings
Degree Name:
D.M.A.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Music
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Chamberlain, Bruce

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleIndications Concerning Contemporaneous Performance Practice in the Prose Writings of William Billingsen_US
dc.creatorStevens, Alanen_US
dc.contributor.authorStevens, Alanen_US
dc.date.issued2012-
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.abstractChoral music in the United States before 1800 was almost exclusively composed by tunesmiths who also worked as singing masters. William Billings (1746-1800) was the most prolific of these composers, and, in 1770, he was the first individual in North America to publish a collection composed entirely of his own works. This collection was known as a tunebook, and was designed to assist in the teaching of musical fundamentals and vocal performance in the singing schools. Five additional tunebooks followed; three of these six contained lengthy prose introductions in which Billings addressed pedagogy, music theory, and sight singing. This prose provides important information about the performance practice of the period, including the issues of accompaniment, articulation and text, dynamics, balance and voicing, ornamentation, and vocal timbre. Previous researchers have often mistakenly grouped the music of the tunesmiths with the later southern hymnists. This has distorted many general notions of historically informed performance practice for the pre-1800 tunesmiths. An examination of what Billings specifically says regarding issues of performance practice in his tunebook introductions, as well as inferences from additional prose material, will help to guide modern conductors to more historically appropriate performance practice. A comparison of this information to prior research will isolate approaches that have previously been considered accurate performance practice, but may, in fact, be inappropriate for choral music of this genre. Finally, an understanding of the intended purpose of the compositions, as well as the historical context, will help to inform performance practice.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectMusicen_US
dc.subjectPerformance Practiceen_US
dc.subjectWilliam Billingsen_US
thesis.degree.nameD.M.A.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineMusicen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorChamberlain, Bruceen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSchauer, Elizabethen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCockrell, Thomasen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberChamberlain, Bruceen_US
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