project . 2020 - 2021 . Closed

Albeniz's Music and the Sentence Principle

UK Research and Innovation
Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: NE/T01444X/1
Funded under: NERC Funder Contribution: 8,299 GBP
Status: Closed
31 Mar 2020 (Started) 30 Nov 2021 (Ended)

AHRC : Alberto Martin : AH/L503939/1 My work is fundamentally music-theoretically/analytically driven, and McGill University's Schulich School of Music has one of the leading Music Theory departments in North America and, indeed, the world, which will provide a unique and stimulating intellectual environment that I will take full advantage of during the proposed placement. Although my current supervisory team in the UK possesses deep knowledge on both music-analytical techniques and cultural-historical aspects, my supervisors do not have specific expertise in theories of "formal functions" developed by William Caplin (a Professor of Music Theory at McGill University). "Caplinian" formal-function theory considers the "syntactical" roles played by various parts/sections of particular musical work in relation to the whole, and the capacity of different compositional techniques to express musical temporality, all resulting in well-defined archetypical formal constructions. During this research placement, I will study the applicability of Caplin's theories of formal functions to the music of the 19th-century Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz, and thus also their potential conceptual expansion beyond their original 18th-century "classical" framework. In particular, I will focus on Albéniz's use of one of Caplin's formal types: the sentence. This work will form one of the chapters of my PhD dissertation; my larger dissertation research project seeks to elucidate the importance of 18th-century tonal and formal syntax in the music of Albéniz. I will import the knowledge acquired during this placement to the UK through, for example, the organization of workshops and lectures at the University of Southampton and in collaboration with the UK's Society for Music Analysis. While traditional music-analytical scholarship has been centered on the "Germanic canon", my investigation will contribute to diversifying our discipline by enlarging the repertoire traditionally dealt with by music theory and analysis. My project will reveal the importance of pan-European influences in Albéniz's music, revising and nuancing his traditional nationalist image. Indeed, I believe it is the right time to vindicate figures like Albéniz, a non-nationalist Catalan who fostered ties between all Spanish people by using the richness of different Spanish cultural manifestations within a European tradition to create some of the most well-loved compositions in the history of Western Music.

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