- Side: 6-9
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.18261/ISSN1504-2960-2014-01-02
- Publisert på Idunn: 2014-12-03
- Publisert: 2014-12-03
This year's issue of Studia Musicologica Norvegica reflects on a wide range of musical expressions particular to Norway – which on this occasion includes Sámi music – while the broad scope of Norwegian music research is also taken into account. The articles included are written in either English or Norwegian. The editors are convinced that this combination of languages helps to address two primary concerns: the importance of Norwegian linguistic conceptualization around topics of international importance, and the dissemination of findings and reflections by Norwegian researchers in a wider, international research community. It is essential that international research of high calibre should also be communicated in Norwegian, as the impact of interpretative and aesthetical research is inextricably bound to the language in which it is conveyed – native Norwegian speakers should be granted the opportunity to experience the potential the language contains for the formulation of ground-breaking research. Guldbrandsen’s article on Wagner is a case in point. At the same time, findings that originate from a specifically Norwegian context can be of consequence to international research, as is the case with Høye’s article, written in English, on medieval Norwegian music. The editors of Studia Musicologica Norvegica are also keen to reflect the breadth of Norwegian music research. This current issue encompasses a range of topics relating to Western art music, its history, style and aesthetics (Guldbrandsen, Eriksen), and Sámi music, ethnicity and studio production (Fagerheim). It includes themes that relate music to dance (Fiskvik) and the lute to sound technology (Rolfhamre). Moreover, several of the articles demonstrate a cross-disciplinary methodological scope: different approaches to music as a performative art form the main point of departure for analysis and discussion. The backgrounds of the authors in this volume also vary, from established researchers with extensive experience in their fields to young and talented researchers presenting new results from research projects. Our hope is that the range and depth of articles presented here will foster curiosity and inspire new research and knowledge.
The current issue opens with Erling E. Guldbrandsen’s article “Musical motivation: A new look at Wagner's Die Walküre.” Guldbrandsen advocates a fundamentally new understanding of Wagner's music as an open process and listening experience in a move beyond analytical readings of the symphonic-structural and dramaturgical-semantic aspects of particular scenes. Guldbrandsen’s approach to Wagner's leitmotif technique ventures into difficult terrain, away from traditional forms of analysis: emergent musical events are only accessible “in the performance and experience of the work as a sounding, staged process in time.” Instead of a schematic separation between the structural significance of motifs and semantic meaning in the musical drama, Guldbrandsen draws attention to the role of the motif as a driving force in the unpredictable, ambiguous and incomplete production of musical meaning as it evolves in the interaction between music, text and staging. The interactive and procedural dynamics of the play of leitmotifs is, according to Guldbrandsen, absent in existing analyses, which commonly rely on schematic and fixed representations of musical objects. By addressing the central turning point in die Todesverkündigung, Guldbrandsen describes how the voice of the music “is at one and the same time crystal clear and ambiguous” in the presence of death – a voice which must be created afresh for every performance.
In the article “Dissecting transformation: towards a biology of recorded lute sound” Robin Rolfhamre presents an analysis of modern sound production as a basis for the reassessment of the dichotomy between biology and technology. Rolfhamre's case is his own instrument, the lute, an instrument typically associated with an “unplugged”, natural sound ideal. Rolfhamre challenges this assumption: the sound of the lute as we know it via the recorded medium is “manufactured perfection”, and becomes manifest through modern audio technology. Rolfhamre guides the reader and listener through the various stages of the production process. The ecology of the lute exceeds the boundaries between old and new technology, concrete and abstract. Sound production begins with instrument construction and the production of acoustic sound waves. These are transformed into electrical voltage waves through the microphone diaphragm. In a third stage, the sound is fragmented and digitized. In all of the stages sound is modelled in different directions, not only on the basis of physical calculations and technical problem-solving, but also aesthetic contemplation and musical traditions. Decisive for Rolfhamre are the transitions between the individual stages, the evolutionary aspect of all modern sound production. Consequently, in an era where the “instrument” encompasses the recording apparatus, digital sound processing, various storage media, and playback equipment of varying quality, convoluted questions of authenticity are definitively extended beyond the performer and the instrument alone.
Paal Fagerheim’s article “Sounding Sámi Sentiments – Musical Practices in the Production of Ethnicity”, based on his own participation in the recording and release of an album by the band Adjágas, gives insight into the “world music” production of Sámi joiking, and offers perspectives on the negotiations between cultural and ethnic practices and the related values involved. Central to the production process is the joik ethos as “sounding” mediation between individual and collective “sentiments”. He studies the various preconditions for a CD production featuring traditional music, from arrangements to techniques for audio processing and especially marketing strategies. These prerequisites in modern productions can easily come into conflict with the joik’s original function as an expression of ethnic identity – an identity associated with spiritual experiences, nature, landscapes, people or animals. Questions of authenticity arise in considering whether it is acceptable to add delay and reverb to a joikingvoice, or whether a “dry”, more “real” sound should be sought. Fagerheim’s description of the artistic and technical production choices behind Adjágas' debut album show how the cooperation between Sámi and non-Sámi participants was guided by a common desire to make use of modern music production techniques to bring Sámi “sentiments” to a global audience, without erasing the differences between ethnic positions.
Asbjørn E. Eriksen’s “A new encounter with Halfdan Cleve’s (1879–1951) piano concertos” sheds new light on a forgotten chapter of Norwegian music history. Cleve’s five piano concertos in late Romantic, virtuoso style never became part of the standard concert repertoire, even though many of the compositional qualities characteristic of Grieg's A minor Piano Concerto and Rachmaninov's ever-popular piano concertos are present – as Eriksen demonstrates in analyses of the first and fourth piano concertos. Eriksen highlights Cleve’s compositional development, which comes into its own in the fourth concerto with its “sense of large-scale form, effective harmonic vocabulary, varied phrase structure and orchestral ingenuity”. The success of any solo concerto depends on the composer’s ability to balance virtuosity with originality. Eriksen's analysis is intended to emphasize the qualities of Cleve’s compositions, more than document any weaknesses. Ultimately though, only new performances will tell whether Cleve has succeeded in mastering the genre and whether his piano concertos thus deserve a second chance to be admitted into the musical canon.
Anne Fiskvik’s “To dance music: Musical Visualization in Christiania anno 1909” presents newly discovered source material documenting the important influence of continental trends in dance – inspired by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze – in Norway at the turn of the last century. The primary case study is “Chopin in dance pictures”, a production created by the famous actor and dancer Gyda Christensen and pianist and Busoni pupil Karl Nissen, performed in Christiania in May 1909. Christensen and Nissen’s performance introduced a unique form of visualizing musical elements inspired by Jaques-Dalcroze and Francois Delsart, and contributed to the introduction of modern forms of expression in dance in Norway, offering liberation from the codified movement patterns of classical ballet. Fiskvik’s article considers Christensen’s contribution to dance history as significant in that it added an original twist to the established European trends, and also spawned a lively debate in Norway about the relationship between music and dance and the synchronous and asynchronous movements of the dancer's body in the title role – a body “transformed into an instrument for the visualization and interpretation of Chopin's music.”
This volume concludes with an article by Marit Johanne Høye, “Melodic Identity in Fragmented Nidaros Sources: The Transmission of Notka's Sequence Iohannes Iesu Christo”, in which she presents findings on an early stage in Norwegian music history, extrapolated from the manuscripts of medieval Nidaros. By way of a detailed comparative analysis of a specific melodic sequence that occurs in several versions with typical features from various European traditions, Høye seeks to document the regional characteristics of the melodic material that was adopted for use in the diocese of Nidaros at the beginning of the thirteenth century.
The editors would like to thank everyone who has submitted contributions to this issue. We also thank the reviewers who have made an inestimable contribution in the process of evaluating the submissions. Last but not least, we would like to thank Eli Cook Hope and Frøydis Veseth at Universitetsforlaget, and Per Dahl, president of the Norwegian Musicological Society, for their support during the preparation of this year’s issue.