On the 10th of this month, I presented my project ideas to a few of my classmates and my tutor, Kenny McAlpine. One of the ideas was to think about the relevance of the madrigal today, the other was "is the madrigal form accessible in today's society?" Kenny asked me first what would be the practical part of the second idea. I explained that I may want to try and write a madrigal or play some examples of a madrigal to a group of people with differing understanding. This would be in partnership, hopefully, with Drake Scotland. One thing that Kenny suggested I do was to think about what I wanted to get out of this project and where I wanted to be at the end of this year. At the end of my honours year, I see myself working in the community and performing, mostly. However, I may dabble into some composing, as well. Kenny pointed me to a group of musicians that I should listen to called the "City Waits," who sing madrigals on CD and in performance. I have since bought one of their albums -- I have yet to actually listen to it though! I may have it in the car going up to Dundee this Thursday. The album is called "Bawdy Ballads of Old England." Kenny then gave me an action plan with the main point being: decide on which idea I'm going to focus on for my project. Since the presentation, I have decided to focus on the accessibility of the madrigal today.
I've started noting some ideas for my research proposal which is due on November 24th. I still want to focus on the accessibility of the madrigal today. My aims are yet to be properly decided but I'm thinking along the lines of: to discuss or investigate the accessibility of the madrigal today. One of my objectives is to define the meaning of accessibility. To help with this I've been looking at "The Accessibility of Music: Participation, Reception, and Contact" by Jochen Eisentraut. He defines accessibility in three ways: personal, which means things like "do you like it? can you listen to it?," physical accessibility (can you get to a concert or can you afford to buy a piece of music or score?), and participatory accessibility, meaning can people join in? There was also a reference to Adorno which is about the familiarity of music and how we like things that we've heard or seen before. For example, I like the madrigal so much because they form the pattern of pop songs today! They have harmony, melody, chord structures, and most importantly, a verse and a chorus -- or they're strophic, meaning that they repeat over and over. I've also been listening to some links and stations on the radio relevant to the madrigal, including artists such as the King's Singers, Ensemble Amarillis, the New York Madrigal Singers, and the Hillyard Ensemble. The main radio station I've been listening to regarding madrigals is Abacus Renaissance Lute.
These are very much rough ideas and I need to pull them together into the proposal document. I really hope I get it done before the 24th.
Having previously joined the Edinburgh University Library and used this to research my degree year project I am able to do this again with confidence. Most of the music references are available on the second floor. It is a bit difficult as this library is well used and there can be difficulty getting a table space and chair. Being a visiting user I am highly conscious of the privilege attached to being able to access this resource bank. I will try varying my access times to try and find which time of day is least busy.
I have joined and accessed the library at Abertay successfully. The staff are exceptionally helpful and run lots of workshops. I have attended
Emily Car Martin:
Key contact. Support if I need her. Maybe she is a backup for some elements of the task? We'll see
Having completed two weeks of lectures I am beginning to get a feel for what is expected of a project at this level.
My initial idea has sprung from my project for last year which was finally on 'The development of the English Madrigal as viewed through the life and selected works of Thomas Morley'. I had done research before for music history and analysis which helped me with this project. However this was more challenging having many more references. I still used the footnotes I was used to, but now know I need to adhere to the Harvard system required at Abertay.
I hope to research and develop a project to examine the accessibility of the English Madrigal form. This will allow me to build on my recently acquired deeper understanding of the English madrigalists and on my experience of leading a choir.
· Project and Time management.
My approach through trial and error required a tactile form from which I could manipulate and grow designing a Wheel as the project topic as the main hub and strands being the elements or key milestones to be achieved.
· Chosen topic context and theory knowledge
With a broad network in place from both previous education and musical practice in and around Edinburgh the Theory access was not an issue but the defining part that was a challenge.
· Improved critical, creative and investigative skills
I had to focus on my main argument being that certain musical forms are dying and with an interest in the madrigal this was an ideal platform to work from. Having read a lot of interesting literature I found there were key themes linking them all together and that the subject of Teaching linked with music performance could be enhanced further to make participants ie. The singers more receptive in learning and preforming and this could potential lead to the growth of a musical form or ideally prevent the dying of such form over time.
· Enhanced technical skills
Technical Skills such as tools for recording key findings the following were used and adapted to suit. Dictaction on laptop, recorder for lecture, exploring mindmap tools and apps on ipad as well as the value presentation one to one group session which I found most useful in communicating and distilling ideas further. I identified that the spoken word is best in processing information and developing ideas and project form. Of all the research methods available this was simply yet most effective. With only two opportunities on the course to do this I aim to hold more amongst peers throughout the second semester. I will need to develop my skills such as use of scanner and means of recording information as we move more into practice based research. The one in mind is called the zoomx scanner.
I have started recording using my Dictaphone more often to keep on top of things.
· A move towards becoming an expert in your field
A recent successful interview with Drake Music Scotland illustrates my commitment to the field of music and in particular the subject of teaching and leadership.
Amy Moar is a Scottish music student who is working towards her BA Hons Music Performance. Amy has worked professionally both in community music projects and as a performer.