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Goldsmiths - University of London

Foundations of Modern Cello Technique; Creating the Basis for a Pedagogical Method

Welbanks, Valerie. 2017. Foundations of Modern Cello Technique; Creating the Basis for a Pedagogical Method. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Throughout their studies, cellists use short technical exercises such as scales and études which, under the supervision of a teacher, provide the skills necessary to play the repertoire. Etudes in particular – this body of formal, pedagogical works that developed in tandem with the rise of the virtuoso – are designed to strengthen specific technical notions in musical context, providing access to more demanding repertoire. Surprisingly, however, the last significant collection of études for the cellist is Popper’s High School of Cello Playing (1905).

The rich palette of extended techniques for cello, achieved through a century of innovation and experimentation, has no equivalent representation. The cellist who desires, or is required, to meet this new rise in virtuosity must essentially decipher new idioms alone, unless fortunate enough to work with a specialist who will pass on the fruits of personal experience. I suggest that many of the problems which modern music faces today are connected to the performer’s dearth of proficiency concerning certain musical and instrumental techniques. As a survey of pedagogical material will show, few steps have been taken to enable cellists to gain the technical fluency needed for providing engaging performances of 20th- and 21st-century repertoire.

Through discussions with contemporary music specialists, the study of existing publications, and my own performing experience, I present the cello’s extended techniques as a linear progression of traditional technique. Three future projects guide the content and structure of this thesis: curriculum development, the creation of an online database, and the commissioning of concert études modelled on Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin. The 24 sections of this thesis guide the reader through a technique’s origin and development, basic acoustical information, and performance advice, creating a pedagogical framework. Only with a clear methodological approach can contemporary music be expected to become more than a specialism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Keywords:

cello, modern music, contemporary music, cello technique, extended technique

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music

Date:

28 February 2017

Item ID:

20163

Date Deposited:

05 Apr 2017 16:46

Last Modified:

24 Aug 2017 09:11

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/20163

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