Tension design of contemporary orchestral music in different performances of "Sula" by Helena Tulve
Cognitive musicology is a psychological domain of music which attempts to proximity several interpretations as notation in a score, analysis, performance, and perception. The previous study of the authors developes the interdisciplinary analysis method of tension design combining music theoretical and perception approaches (investigating contemporary music). In this study we observe different performances of „Sula“ (Thaw, 1999) by Estonian composer Helena Tulve (1972). We investigate the impact of performance style of different conductors (Toomas Vavilov, Paul Mägi) and orchestras (ERSO, Orchestra of Estonian National Opera) on the perception-based tension design of the piece and how it is connected to score-based tension design. Observed performances reveal concordance in the overall shape of culmination points (CP-s) of final sections. Most significant for both conductors is the difference of approaching CP-s: Vavilov points out peaks, Mägi builds blending plateaux. Reputedly listeners perceive the overall contour of perception-based tension design individually, but also revealing concordance in significant moments of tension design. This study reveals, that Vavilov‘s sharp pointing of CP-s corresponds more frequently to expectations of the listeners, while Mägi „overrides“ the „real“ CP-s, focusing more on blending increasing and releasing phases. Vavilov’s interpretation shows more segmentation, while Mägi guides the listeners toward one main CP (13‘08‘‘). He also „overrides“ the crucial CP (10‘54‘‘), which is as a composed out caesura (bar 181) clearly shown in the score. Vavilov accentuates this crucial CP (13‘16‘‘). But the listener’s grasping of the conductors general idea of overall TD depends on the type of analytical or esemplastic perception. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009 
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