Confessions and reflections on performing Twentieth-century Argentine piano music

Naomi Smout

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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This thesis examines my experiences of learning and performing twentieth-century Argentine piano music. Chapter one examines the development of Argentine folk dances and how Argentine composers integrated the rhythms and imagery associated with regional folklore dances into their piano music. Such an examination then considers the influence of literary writers and nationalist ideology on the folklore movement and Argentine composers. Accordingly, I describe how the folk dance-inspired rhythms and connection with the landscape and gaucho (cowboy) of Argentina is significant in the composers’ works. In chapter two, I reflect on my experiences of learning twentieth-century Argentine piano music first in Perth, Western Australia, and then in New York, US. In order to examine how my experiences in New York enabled me to develop new approaches to piano performance, I reflect on the physical and mental strategies relating to piano playing that I learned under Rosa Antonelli (2013), and how such strategies enabled me to address ‘question spaces’ (after Pasler 2008) and ‘struggles’ (after Denzin 2003) that have arisen in my playing. In chapter three, and in order to document changes that I made in my preparation for the above two performances, and how I adapted a variety of feedback from concert pianists and teachers to inform my interpretation and playing of twentieth-century Argentine piano music, I critically reflect on two recitals that I presented in Perth, Western Australia, following my study in New York. By drawing upon Howat’s (1995) thoughts pertaining to interpretation and Rosen’s (2004) ideas on the experience of playing the piano, I also consider how by contemplating different physical and interpretative approaches to the music I am now able to identify how my own ‘style’ of playing has developed during my Masters candidature. The conclusion briefly overviews the thesis and ends by stating that I have established new and more effective approaches to performing piano music in general, as well as an intimate understanding of the Argentine piano music works performed as part of this course of study.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - May 2015


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