“In Search Of…”

Thursday – April 12, 2018

Academic Panel: “In Search Of…”

4:00 p.m. – UO Collier House


“Aesthetics and the Amateur Keyboardist: Historical Approaches to
Character and Expression in the Music of C.P.E. Bach”

Kimary Fick

The dissemination of philosophy and its new sub-discipline, aesthetics, during the second half of the eighteenth century in North Germany was crucial to the formation of an educated bürger class. This citizenry engaged with encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers that provided interpretations of contemporaneous philosophy, and suggested a means for acquiring taste through the experience of the arts and music. Philosophy impacted the greater role and function of music in the home, and ultimately informed amateur musicians in the interpretation of music.

A primary concern in publications intended for amateur musicians was a means to the expression of music. Musical amateurs studied and practiced the principles of music and aesthetic theory, which informed how they engaged with, interpreted, and expressed music of this era. Influenced by the current aesthetic theory, this literature exhibited a shift towards a psychological approach to identifying character and expression rather than the previously held rhetorical one.

An analysis of primary sources on music and aesthetics intended for the enlightened amateur will inform our own conceptions of repertoire in the era and its historical performing practices. Through two representative keyboard works by C.P.E. Bach, the Rondo I in C major (Wq. 56.1/H.260) and the Fantasia in F-sharp Minor (H.300/Wq.67), I identify the means to access the psychological character instilled in the music and discuss historical approaches to aesthetic musical expression for the modern performer.

Kimary Fick is an Instructor of Music History at Oregon State University and active performer of Baroque and Classical music on historical flutes. She specializes in the music of the eighteenth century, focusing on historical aesthetics, musical societies, primary source study and editing, and historical performance practices. Her research has been presented at numerous national and international conferences, including AMS, RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group, and the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music.


“The New and the Old: Making Early Music in the Age of Online Archives, Digitization, and the Ubiquitous Internet”

Danika Paskvan

The rise of the ubiquitous Internet has fundamentally intervened in the accessibility and distribution of resources for performers of early music. This presentation centers on the work of two New York-based early music groups, A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. and LeStrange Viols, as case studies in the ways that digital culture supports, facilitates, and substantiates the work of historical performers. Traditional attempts to theorize around early music performance aesthetics, especially those tackling the paradoxical modernity of early music performance, tend to follow a well-known critical model: aesthetic theorizing starts from the intersection where the concert-hall presentation meets the scholarly ear of a critical listener-aficionado. In contrast, this presentation begins its approach to aesthetics much earlier, where early music performers must almost always begin: seeking sounds, instruments, and repertoire that interest them, finding likeminded colleagues to make music with, sourcing presenters and venues, and connecting with live audiences and emerging digital markets. Each of these stages represents a facet of musicking — of the daily aesthetic work of musicians preparing for performance and seeking satisfying answers to the practical, fundamental questions of the field — and each stage is affected by the characteristics and possibilities of the Information Age. This ethnographic analysis explores the ways that early music performers in the postdigital age access information and collaborate online to form, reform, and perform musical knowledge. It seeks to understand performers’ interactions with digital archives, online forums, streaming services, and Web culture as necessarily, ultimately aesthetic relationships.

Danika Paskvan is an Alaskan musician and writer living in New York City. She graduated from The Juilliard School and Northwestern University, with specialization in historical performance, contemporary performance practice, and linguistics. She performs frequently on both baroque and modern viola, and appears regularly as a soloist and collaborator. Her research interests include early music performance, experimental music since 1989, and digital socialities. Her writing can be found at danikapaskvan.com.


“The Division of Taste: Diminution in the Treatises of Leopold Mozart and Giuseppe Tartini”

Cameron Steuart

In the middle of the eighteenth century, two of Europe’s most capable violinists, Giuseppe Tartini and Leopold Mozart, each undertook the process of writing a treatise that might guide others in their study of the instrument. In both of these works there is a substantial treatment of ornamentation, which was then one of the most important aspects of musical performance. In recent attempts to reconstruct the performance practice of this period much has been made of the different ways in which these authors, who otherwise had a great deal in common, chose to treat ornamentation in their respective treatises. In particular, scholars have taken note of Leopold’s choice to treat the subject of diminution, which is discussed at length in Tartini’s treatise, only sparingly and to include with his treatment many warnings of how such ornamentation can corrupt an otherwise tasteful composition.

This divergence from Tartini’s model, on the subject of diminution, has caused many to cast Leopold’s treatise as one of the first representations of what would eventually become the “classical” style of performance. I will challenge this reading by considering evidence from Leopold’s correspondence along with previously unconsidered information regarding the publication histories of the treatises in question. As a result, I will show that Leopold’s choice to treat diminution only superficially was rooted more in an anticipation of the needs and abilities of his intended readership than it was in any aesthetic shift.


*All Musicking Conference Events are Free and Open to the Public
**All events are subject to change

Skip to toolbar