Musicological Explorations <p>A graduate student journal of the Department of Music, University of Victoria.</p> en-US (Managing Editor) (University of Victoria Libraries) Wed, 29 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 OJS 60 From the Editor Rena Roussin Copyright (c) 2018 Rena Roussin Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Foreword Michelle Fillion Copyright (c) 2018 Michelle Fillion Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Beverly Emmons <p>There is an increasing interest in the performance and analysis of stage lighting design as a unique artistic discipline with a logic and language of its own that serves a creative purpose outside of simple performance illumination. This article suggests that the lighting design work of Beverly Emmons in collaboration with Merce Cunningham and John Cage – can be analyzed and perceived in similar ways to music composition. The improvisational processes and practice often associated with the Cunningham and Cage aesthetic, were present in all aspects of their staged works, including the lighting design. The key production discussed in this article is “Winterbranch” for which Emmons designed/composed the lighting in the 1960’s and again in 2012. At the core of this article is a 2015 conversation with Beverly Emmons on her experience in moving from a career path as a dancer to that as an emerging female lighting designer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in the 1960’s, balancing audience expectation with experimentation, re-imagining another artist’s work, composition “by chance” and being female in a predominantly male occupation. Emmons recollections of her work with Cunningham and Cage offer unique insight into her experience with the avant-garde artists and the effect on her own approach to the composition of stage lighting.<br><br></p> Claire Carolan Copyright (c) 2018 Claire Carolan Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Understanding Wolff through Music <p>The composer Christian Wolff has a reputation for writing political music. In this paper, I discuss the problem of ascribing solely such an origin to the hallmark techniques of the composer’s early output (until about 1976, including works such as Burdocks and For 1, 2 or 3 People). I define political as that which promotes norms of social behaviour and organization (and thus has implications for governance). I delineate four potentially political aspects of these works—the individuality of sounds, performer freedom and interaction, accessibility to listeners, and settings of topical texts—and suggest that these aspects are responses to musical concerns rather than, as Wolff later said, “a kind of metaphor, if you will, for a social situation.” Not taking these works as consciously politically motivated, I suggest that the social views one might find in them are artefacts of Wolff’s personal beliefs. Considering the music in this way offers a richer understanding of the composer’s personality and his musical decisions.</p> Dave Riedstra Copyright (c) 2018 Dave Riedstra Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Hearing and Seeing (Beyond) Finnegans Wake <p>A diversity of meaning that includes the option that there be no meaning at all, an ongoing invitation to the audience to participate in the creation of art by choosing where to focus their attention, and the experience of multiple ways of experiencing are all aspects that have come to define the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s aesthetic inspiration and vision. Yet in Cunningham’s 1983 choreography Roaratorio, performed alongside John Cage’s 1979 musical composition Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake, several other aspects and influences become apparent, namely: James Joyce, his 1939 novel Finnegans Wake, connection to a central (if multivalent) textual narrative, and a loose sense of place joined to placelessness. These narrative and thematic elements make Roaratorio an anomaly within the Company’s output. Yet Roaratorio’s differences and incorporation of Joycean elements expand and revitalize, rather than depart from, Cage’s and Cunningham’s experiential aesthetic. By outlining the features of Finnegans Wake and tracing its fingerprints across Cage’s writings on it, Irish Circus’s sound world, and Roaratorio’s choreography, this paper demonstrates how Cage and Cunningham allowed their audience to see and hear Finnegans Wake through the artistic languages of multivalent music and movement. Yet by interpreting the many meanings and possibilities of the novel through multiple artistic genres, Cage and Cunningham also hear and see beyond it—and widen their own experiential aesthetic in the process.</p> Rena Roussin Copyright (c) 2018 Rena Roussin Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Anarchic Practices in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Ocean <p>In 1994, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company premiered Ocean, a large-scale production that featured a dance on a round stage with choreography by Merce Cunninghanm, orchestral music for over 100 musicians by Andrew Culver, and an electronic music component by David Tudor. The creation of the dance and music components utilized anarchic practices, such as chance operations and the I Ching, which drew upon the compositional processes and music of John Cage. In this paper, I examine Ocean through its use and employment of anarchic practices in its dance and music components, with a primary focus on the music component. My discussion begins by exploring the story behind Ocean’s creation and the influence of James Joyce and John Cage on this work. This is followed by an exploration of the multi-layered integration of anarchic practices within each component, with a detailed discussion on the construction and performance of the musical components. The discussion finishes with how the multi-layered incorporation of anarchic practices might parallel the scientific concept of synchronicity, based on the writings of Andrew Culver. In addition to published articles and documentation, I interviewed three musicians who were involved in this work: Andrew Culver, Ocean’s orchestral composer, John D. S. Adams, sound engineer and assistant to David Tudor, John King, electronic musician for David Tudor’s component, and I contacted Gordon Mumma, a close friend to David Tudor and longtime member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.</p> Janet Sit Copyright (c) 2018 Janet Sit Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Biographies Journal Editor Copyright (c) 2018 Mon, 29 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800