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'Heart of Tones' and the Dilation of Time

McCaleb, J Murphy (2016) 'Heart of Tones' and the Dilation of Time. In: RMA Study Day: Keeping Time? New Approaches to Temporality, 13 June 2016, University of York. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Musicians’ strong engagement in the Now of a performance can alter their perception of the passage of time, an area explored by studies on flow in musical performance (Wrigley and Emmerson, 2011; Lamont, 2012; Hart and Di Blasi, 2013). This alteration of the perception of time varies from performer to performer, piece to piece, and context to context, and may not necessarily be reflected in the audience’s perception of time. The deeper the investment and engagement musicians have with their performance, the greater a possibility that they might become cognitively distanced from their interpretations, instead feeling that the music is playing itself (McCaleb, 2014). As a result, this may encourage a depersonalisation of the performer – a loss of self or, rather, an offering up of one’s ego to the music. This phenomenon is explored and often encouraged in many compositions of Pauline Oliveros, most notably her Sonic Meditations.

'Heart of Tones' (1999), written for trombone and oscillators, exaggerates the power of music to alter the perception of time to an almost absurd degree. Once a drone is established, the trombone microscopically deviates from the pitch at a glacial pace. Through this process, one moment is magnified and stretched until the passage of time becomes variable for both the performer and the audience. Through live performance of this piece, I will explore how the cognitive and physical investment in the performance of this work results in the performer becoming engulfed in the sounds around them, ultimately removing themselves from a linear perception of time.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Status: Unpublished
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study
School/Department: School of Performance & Media Production
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1663

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