Baker, Andrew (2015) ‘Pulling the Heads off Rats’: Exploring the Factors that Limit the Performance of Contemporary Music by Amateur Musicians in British Brass Bands. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis seeks to explore the reasons why amateur musicians, specifically those in British brass
bands, do not commission and/or perform contemporary music. To give a meaningful answer, the text
seeks first to reach a working definition of the concept of an amateur musician in the opening chapter.
This chapter also provides a brief overview of the principal developments in the brass band repertoire
since 1913. Chapter two presents a hypothesis relating to the discomfort that British brass bands in
particular seem to feel when presented with musical innovation (particularly relating to harmonic
language) and discusses the ‘closed shop’ of brass band conducting. A significant amount of field
research with performers, conductors and audiences was undertaken to support this thesis and this is
described in the third chapter, along with some conclusions drawn directly from the research. The
fourth chapter contains commentaries on the accompanying compositions. The research as a whole
(including the accompanying compositions) is intended to act as a toolkit to assist composers,
conductors and amateur musicians not only to programme and perform contemporary music as part
of their regular practice, but to do so in an engaged and enthusiastic fashion.

Final thesis - BAKER.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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