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Leading as a Mode of Interaction and Communication in the Performance Practice of Music for Solo Violin

25 August 2021

15:00 - 17:00 hrs (GMT+7)


Mieko Kanno

Sibelius Academy DocMus Doctoral School


Maria Puusaari


‘Leading’ means directing or conducting a music ensemble with physical indications while playing an instrument. Leading gestures are used to guide, cue and synchronise ensemble playing both in chamber music ensembles and in conductor-directed ensembles. Several temporal and expressive musical features can be communicated through leading.

When I am in the ensemble my attention is focused externally on multidirectional musical interaction with the other musicians and the audience. When I am in a solo performance my attention may be more focused internally on my physical actions. Hence, I explore whether or not leading and the leader’s attitude can be used as a mode of interaction and communication when performing a contemporary solo violin work. I suggest that leading a solo performance has two directions: leading my own actions, and leading the audience to perceive and participate in the listening.

Toccatina for solo violin by Helmut Lachenmann and Gesti for violin, electronics and video by Jouni Hirvelä include soft dynamics and extended playing techniques that demand new performance strategies. Through the video performance of these works, I demonstrate that leading helps to emphasize rhythmic structures, musical gestures and extended playing techniques, shape phrases, and create an embodied narrative to music. The embodied metaphors, focus of attention and musical gestures form the framework for this presentation.

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