Doctor of Musical Arts
This study explored the impact of adaptive methods and modalities in Art Song performance in connecting with adult audiences (aged 18 and older) as explored through a live performance of German Lieder. In addition, this study sought to contribute a qualitative experimental study of in-situ audience perception to an emerging field of practice and research regarding the innovative practices in Art Song performance (e.g. Art Song Theatre). The study was derived from a 2012 informal experiment by Professor Rena Sharon, a leading advocate of expanded Art Song performance practice and pedagogy. Specifically, a single English Art Song was performed in three different treatments: traditional, expanded traditional, and theatrical contextualization. The data helped illustrate a difference in performer interpretation and audience comprehension, confirming a stronger affiliation to the more expansive treatments over the more normative one.
Inspired by the anecdotal report of this experiment, the current study compared three gestural versions of Art Song performance, similar to the previously mentioned, on a larger scale (i.e. a German song cycle) and recorded the data through more extensive and systematic data collection before three distinct audiences, categorized according to level of prior classical music training and/or familiarity with Art Song. The conclusions observed provide further context on the effectiveness of innovative performance practices within classical music, such as Art Song Theatre, as well as suggest a set of parameters when putting forth a classical music performance – specifically that of Art Song/German Lied – for present-day audiences.
Summary for Lay Audience
This study aimed to examine the possible impact of enhanced stagecraft in Art Song performance through a live performance of German Lieder for a diverse group of adult audiences (aged 18 and older). In addition, this study aimed to contribute to an emerging field of practice and research regarding the innovative practices in Art Song performance (e.g. Art Song Theatre). The study was based on a 2012 informal experiment by Professor Rena Sharon, a leading advocate of expanded Art Song performance practice and pedagogy. The informal experiment involved a single Art Song, sung in English, performed in three different styles, ranging from traditional to more theatrical. The data confirmed a stronger connection to the more expansive styles over the more traditional one from both the audience and the performer.
Inspired by this experiment, the current study compared three ways of performing Art Song, similar to the previously mentioned, before three distinct audiences, grouped according to familiarity with classical music and Art Song. It also focussed on a larger collection of songs, a song cycle, performed in the original German language. The data was recorded using surveys and interviews and provided three overarching themes. Firstly, age and post-secondary music education were most important to determine one’s level of connection to these kinds of performances. Secondly, the added stage elements from the lecture recital created a positive impact on audience engagement by engaging more of one’s senses, but they could also do the exact opposite when used improperly. Lastly, explaining the history of the piece separate from the musical performance was also beneficial for the audience, especially for those unfamiliar with the music. These conclusions help to establish the effectiveness of innovative performance practices within classical music and suggest a baseline when putting together a performance of Art Song/German Lied for present-day audiences.
Iannetta, Adam Domenico, "The Impact of Expanded, Multimodal Applications during a German Lied Performance" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6568.
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