The transactional culture of chamber music performance now and into the future

Davidson, Jane W., and Krause, Amanda E. (2021) The transactional culture of chamber music performance now and into the future. In: [Presented at the 16th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition/11th Triennial conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music]. From: ICMPC-ESCOM 2021: 16th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition/11th Triennial conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, 28-31 July 2021, Sheffield, UK/Online.

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Abstract

Background: Professional chamber musicians, the venues that engage them and the audiences in attendance interact, deploying values related to artistic skill and endeavour, public engagement and entertainment, prestige and financial viability. Plans, actions and responses feed the scope, quality and outcomes of the experience and require indepth understanding particularly as we grapple with the challenges COVID-19 presents to the live music performance ecology.

Aim: This study investigates the experiences of professional chamber ensembles as they encounter musical and social demands, manage communications and deliver performances in a concert series within a premier venue. It aims to offer insights into micro (interpersonal) and macro (organisational/cultural) experiences between musicians, venue and audiences.

Method: Case study data come from 15 chamber ensembles (each comprising 2-5 players) participating in a concert series in a renowned Australian live music venue. These were first collected across 2019 and included: contextual information provided by the venue and the ensembles via email; field observations of the performances; and focus group discussions with performers, venue staff and audiences. Data were prepared (transcribed where necessary) and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Additional data have been collected following the first two waves of COVID-19, to offer insights into prospects for the ensembles and the venue entering the 2021 concert season.

Results: Emergent themes include the delicate balancing of economic, esteem and diversification values for both performers and venue in planning and accepting the work. Music cohesion offers a further point of emphasis, the ‘art of the ensemble’ being a key value for all stakeholders. A related theme of importance is interpersonal social interaction, at all levels and across all stages of planning and executing the performances. Pivotal factors surrounding the audience experience include depth of emotional experience, a balance between familiar and novel encounter, informality and experience of social inclusion.

Conclusion: Specific and often subtle transactions shape the motivations, planning and execution of ensemble performances. While stakeholders inevitably have different and varied experiences, their interactions are pivotal in determining satisfaction and continue the virtuous cycle of transactions that constitutes chamber music performance.

Implications: Fluid and responsive transactions seemingly sustain stakeholders in seeking routes to realise a ‘Covid Normal’ future in which the culture of ensemble performance can continue, now to be moderated using socially distanced, no-interval live performance and online variants suitable for potential lockdowns.

Item ID: 68857
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: chamber musicians, transactions, interactions, interpersonal, organisational, music performance, music psychology, psychology of music, social psychology of music
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2021 23:45
FoR Codes: 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3603 Music > 360304 Music performance @ 50%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130102 Music @ 50%
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