Interpretation vs Experimentation

Exploring new paths in music performance

Paulo de Assis


2010 - 2013

Combining theoretical investigation with the concrete practice of music, this project proposes a profound change in the field, challenging its actual boundaries and engendering a paradigm shift. Currently, the concept of interpretation plays a central role in music performance, implying a centripetal approach from the performer towards the 'essence' of the artwork itself. However, the deconstruction of the utopian notion of the editorial Urtext (a constituting concept in the development of the paradigm of interpretation) reveals that a score is less a fixed source than a multi-layered, historically constructed artefact (Grier 1996; Assis 2009). Hence, the hermeneutic idea of interpretation needs a reformulation, both as concept and as practice.

In addition to a thorough investigation of relevant key concepts - those of Rheinberger (Experimental Systems), Deleuze (Experimentation), Ricoeur (Interpretation) and Rancière (Artistic Regimes) -, several experimental performances of past music will be offered, including innovative uses of computer, audio and video devices. The outcomes comprise a monograph on experimental performance practices, articles and presentations, as well as performances and recordings. ORCiM's facilities, its musical Lab, its three research strands (Thoughts & Concepts, Embodied Understandings, Material Interactions), and its community of artist-researchers offer an ideal and unique context for this project.