‘Ur-Technik’ in context: Can we reconstruct pianoforte touch through artistic insight?

Presentation by Antonio Somma (Paris)

29.02.2024, 19:30

Klaus Linder-Saal Musik-Akademie Basel, Leonhardsstr. 6, 4051 Basel - Eintritt frei -

‘Ur-Technik’ in context: Can we reconstruct pianoforte touch through artistic insight?

Recent theories on music cognition emphasize the importance of considering the context, stylistic beliefs, and engagement with material and ideal sources when studying musicians’ performances. It would be unfair, given the complexity of our brains, to reduce a pianist’s apprenticeship at the pianoforte to a purely physicalistic perspective that seeks to define pianistic touch solely based on the mechanical constraints of the historical instrument. What underlies then the contact with historical instruments? Is there an “appropriate” way to rethink touch by studying historical sources? Through interviews with three pianists involved in historically informed touch research and observations of their movements while playing, we contextualize their relationship with the instrument and historical sources. Can this exploration provide insights into reading historical sources and uncover the role of individual aesthetic frameworks in shaping expressive movement?

Antonio Somma is PhD student in Musical Acoustics and Musicology – “Acoustics of Musical Practice on Historical Instruments: Transdisciplinary Study of Historically Informed Performance on the Piano (1780-1850)” at the Collegium Musicæ de l'Alliance Sorbonne Université (Paris).