Benjamin, Mira (2019) Thick Relationality: Microtonality and the Technique of Intonation in 21st Century String Performance. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

This practice research explores the relationship between intonation and microtonality, and questions how these approaches to understanding musical pitch can relate to one another in 21st century string performance. Drawing on elements of historical and contemporary string technique, current debates on Artistic Practice as Research, an evolving discourse surrounding embodiment, and my own creative practices of playing and teaching, this research develops a relational epistemology of musical pitch via various ways of modelling, practising, representing, and ultimately knowing pitch.

The outcomes of this research are presented in seven Instances of Practice, a phrase chosen in place of the more conventional ‘case study’ in keeping with this project’s core principle that embodied practice is epistemic, being ‘structured by and productive of knowledge’ (Spatz, 2015: 26). The accompanying portfolio, comprising six audio recordings and an original teaching resource, reflects discovery-led accounts of specific instances where embodied knowledge has been put to use in the practice of experimental music for solo violin and small string ensemble.

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