Universiteit Leiden

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The Informed Performer- Towards a bio-culturally informed performers’ practice

Playing a musical instrument is generally considered to be a complex human behaviour involving the integration and coordination of a broad range of human functions such as perception, imagination, memory, information processing, emotion, communication, and dexterity.

Joost Vanmaele
20 December 2017

From this perspective, it seems reasonable to assume that, in an age of informational and communicational abundance, this intrinsic multifacetedness manifests itself in numerous informational contact-points between musical practice and a variety of academic and para-academic fields which zoom in on these specific elements of musical activity.

Such is not the case today – at least not on a structural level. The grounds for this state of affairs seem to be both of an ideological-epistemic nature as well as of a more practical and operational kind. Joost Vanmaele’s dissertation is directed at carefully and systematically evaluating the position of musicianship in an age of informative abundance and connectedness, to consider ways of re-balancing and broadening its epistemic grounds and attuning its information systems, with a view to artistic development, enrichment and/or liberation.

By proposing a Bio-Culturally informed Performers’ Practice of Western Art Music [BCiPP], an information- and dialogue-friendly, transdisciplinary space is created where musical activities are not considered as phenomena sui generis but rather as informable cultural instances or personal particularisations of the human capacity to meaningfully generate and react to temporally patterned sounds. The impact of allowing bio-cultural fields of learning and knowledge production to structurally connect with score-based performance via the vehicle of information is put to the test in two case-studies.

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