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Executive mismatch and Robert Schumann's hand injury : tranquil execution, widely-extended texture and early nineteenth-century pianism

This dissertation is about a peculiar conflict that occurs in the process of music performance, a conflict that exists between the body and the mind. What I call “executive mismatch,” this conflict tends to occur when music performance is treated only as an art, and not also as a kind of a sport; that is, when music is valued only for its artistic expression and representation, and not also for its kinetic essence.

Executive mismatch happened, for example, during the second quarter of the nineteenth century, a critical time that shaped our modern views on how the piano should be played. While many – among them Liszt, Thalberg, Chopin, and Mendelssohn – managed to find their rightful places in this process of development, individuals like Schumann struggled for theirs. Focusing on this influential but overlooked nineteenth-century dilemma, this dissertation examines the inharmonious collaboration between kinetics and aesthetics as evident in pedagogical writings, training materials, witness accounts, and compositions.

This dissertation argues that musical performance mandates a proper matching of the body and the mind, and it does so at two levels. First, it argues historically that Schumann’s famous hand injury was as much about the executively mismatched world he lived in as about biographical details. His pursuit of a performing career was always doomed to end badly, whether or not he tried to use machines to accelerate progress. Accordingly, his injury was unlikely to be self-inflicted, nor was it entirely medical/pathological by nature. Second, it argues that executive mismatch, which found perfect expressions in Schumann’s life and in early nineteenth- century pianism, still influences our modern world through performers, music-score editors, and researchers. / published_or_final_version / Music / Doctoral / Doctor of Philosophy

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:HKU/oai:hub.hku.hk:10722/212640
Date January 2013
CreatorsCheng, Chung-kei, Edmund, 鄭頌基
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Source SetsHong Kong University Theses
LanguageEnglish
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypePG_Thesis
RightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works., Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License
RelationHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)

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