Article

 

Published:

Aural Parameters in the Pedagogy of Flute Performance, Journal of Fine Arts, XXI: 2, Tehran, 2016–17, 53–62

Azin Movahed1؛ Zahra Keshavarz2

1Associate Professor of Music, School of Performing Arts and Music, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2MMus, School of Performing Arts and Music, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract:

The French School of Flute playing which was propagated through the leadership of the Paris Conservatoire in the 1890s has been considered as the foundation of flute performance and pedagogy in the modern world. Despite the prolific output of the teacher's of the Paris Conservatoire who widely wrote daily exercise books and studies for their students, a very limited number of these books concentrate on techniques of tone production and sonority and a wide majority consider only the development of dexterity and finger technique as their focus.

While acknowledging the importance of finger technique in flute performance, it is common knowledge today, that a lack of consideration of issues related to sound and tonalization can hinder the development of the modern flutist. More importantly, in countries where the western classical tradition of sound is not directly embedded in the aural concepts of that culture, a lack of attention toward the importance of sound quality and tone color can become detrimental in achieving the expressive elements of musical performance. Using library references, as well as applied studies and empirical research, this study has reviewed the important role that Paul Taffanel and Marcel Moyse have played in propagating the aesthetics of sound in flute performance. While reviewing the principles discussed by the two teachers in their memoirs as well as the introduction to their method books, the article has reviewed the social trends that led to the development of their thoughts and principles. As a result, particular exercises from different method books for the flute have been selected in order to present instructions and guidelines that enhance the pedagogy of tone and sound production based on the ideals propagated by the two teachers.

The article has specifically addressed common terminology used by French teachers in their method books in order to postulate the significance of the words that have been used to describe the quality of sound as desired by the teachers of the Paris Conservatoire. As a result, the article has attributed three major characteristics to the French style of flute playing, namely "homogeneity, equality, and flexibility", all three of which cover the concept of sound in an integrated multifaceted continuum. Homogeneity refers to the internal qualities of each tone affected by intonation and harmonics, equality considers the uniformity of sound between notes and neighboring relationships and, flexibility considers the dynamic fluidity of sound in musical inflection. The article further presents suggestions that instigate appropriate instruction toward the realization of these concepts in the given exercises. While introducing parameters that would help flutists produce a more focused and well projected sound crucial for the expressive interpretation of music, it also motivates flute players to discover aspects of musicianship that lead to better intonation, artful blending of sound and better control and stamina in performance. Moreover, it helps flutists have particular objectives in mind while producing tone and sonority to enhance expressive elements in the interpretation of a given piece.  

Keywords:

Flute, Paris Conservatory, Tone Production, Pedagogy, Sound

Techniques of Tone Production and Tone Coloring in the Performance of Impressionist Music on the Flute (MM. Dissertation)

Zahra Keshavarz (Kelariz)

MMus, School of Performing Arts and Music, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract:

The French school of flute playing, which was propagated through the leadership of the Paris conservatory in the 1980s and its development alongside the Impressionist movement in painting, led to the consideration of the crucial role played by tone quality and tone color in flute playing.  Using library references, as well as applied studies and empirical research, this study has reviewed major exercises in different method books of the flute repertoire in order to present instructions and guidelines that could enhance sonority and tone color on the flute.  This paper has specifically addressed the significance of each exercise and presented suggestions that instigate appropriate tone production on the flute, while introducing necessary parameters for playing impressionist music.  It also motivates flute players to discover aspects of tone production that leads to a more focused, homogeneous, colorful, and well-projected sound.

Key words: Flute, Paris conservatory, Impressionism, Tone Production, Tone Color, Exercises.

Charles T. Griffes: Mysterious Romanticism in the early 20th-century American Music

Zahra Keshavarz (Kelariz)

MM, Flute Performance, School of Music, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

Abstract:

Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884–1920) is one of the most important composers in late nineteenth and turn-of-the-century America.  Despite his short life of thirty-five years, he is considered a prominent contributor to the cause of American fine art music—on the path from the immigrant professors and Moravian missionaries of the late eighteenth century to Charles Ives.  Although his early works were by all means a reflection of the German Romantic Lied tradition, his late works pursue a completely abstract and modern phase—approaching atonality with a taste of Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky—but yet American.

The sources for this paper are published in English: book-length studies, entries of music encyclopedias, collection of correspondences of the artists and their contemporaries, reviews of books written about Griffes, and articles concentrating on his music, and news-paper reviews and reports of the performances of the composer’s works.  Three scholars have established their authority on the subject: Edward Maisel (1917–2008), Donna K. Anderson (born 1935), and Daniel Boda (born 1931).

In this paper first I will explore Griffes’s position in American fine-art music by considering an example of his early compositions—“Auf geheimem Waldespfade” (1909) and one of his maturity—Poem for flute and orchestra (1919).  For the latter work, which is my primary concern, I will provide a stylistic analysis and a discussion of the musical challenges facing the soloist.  The connection of Griffes to his contemporaries will also be addressed, especially in terms of details gleaned from his correspondences.  Finally, I will present a discography of the piece Poem for flute and orchestra and discuss interpretational implications in performance of the piece.

Key words: Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Romanticism, American Impressionism, Griffes Poem, interpretation, Flute

 

Unpublished:

The Afternoon of a Faun: Similarities in Approach to Poetry and Orchestral Music

Zahra Keshavarz (Kelariz)

MM, Flute Performance, School of Music, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

 

Abstract:

The French poet Stephane Mallarmé (1842-1898) and the French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) shared creative approaches in their conceptions of the acclaimed eclogue, L'après-midi d'un faune (1876), and the iconic orchestral prelude (1894) invoking the same poem.  Although of different generations, the two men were prominent in Parisian artistic circles at the same time and knew each other and each other’s work.  Mallarmé is now understood as a major French symbolist poet, whose work anticipated and inspired several revolutionary artistic schools of the early twentieth century.  Debussy, considered the central figure in turn-of-the-century French music, was deeply inspired by the innovations of contemporaneous poets and painters, notably Mallarmé.  For over a century musicians and scholars have revered the Debussy Prelude as a landmark composition.  Pierre Boulez, the banner carrier of French music at the end of the twentieth century, has identified it as the beginning of modern music with his observation that "The flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music.”  My investigation into the influence of the nature of the poem on the composer’s treatment will concentrate on three aspects: ambiguity of form, the sensual approach of word choice and the correlative selection of chords, colors, and orchestration, and the irregularities in rhythm of the verses and phrases.

This paper is organized in four sections, Symbolism and Mallarme, Symbolism and Debussy, Mallarme and Debussy’s Connection, and L’après-midi d’un faune.  The sources in the first section are mainly literature-based.  These authors approach symbolism by overviewing its characteristics in general, and then considering each poet of the movement individually.  The second chapter explores Debussy and his style of composition.  It also notes the similarity of his composition with the perspective of symbolists.  In the third part, the connection and friendship of Mallarmé and Debussy are brought into consideration through the correspondence with each other as well as other contemporaries, essentially about the creation of the Prélude and its consequences.  Finally, the last part is allocated to analysis of the Prélude and its marriage to the poem.  In this section, the authors expose the reader to different factors and points of view in excavating the connections and correspondence.  The sources are mainly in English, but some contents are in French, such as the artists’ correspondence and the poems.

Keywords:

Claude Debussy, Stefan Mallarmé, L’après-midi d’un faune, Impressionism, Symbolism

An Analysis Informing Performance

Zahra Keshavarz (Kelariz)

MM, Flute Performance, School of Music, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

 

Abstract:

Analysis and performance are associated to each other and analytical perception of a piece leads to better interpretation in performance. Conceiving structure of a piece along with its implied elements and features assists to better conception, and therefore results in meaningful interpretation. In addition, a decent performance conveying its stylistic and formal aesthetics is of great importance to many analysts. Scholars approach analysis in two ways; analysis informing performance and performance informing analysis. According to Daniel Barolsky and Edward Klorman, the subject performance and analysis is a loosely defined sub-discipline. They note that due to multiple perspectives, it is in some ways problematic. They also draw attention to the framing of the primary issue by focusing on the question: “How do we make sense of the relationship between, and the priorities of, performers and analysts?”

 

Keywords:

Formal analysis, Thematic analysis, Textural analysis, Interpretation, Performance practice