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See detailSix regards sur la master-classe de piano : phénoménologie et sémiotique de la rencontre musicale
Kim, Seong Jae UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

In this thesis, I suggest new ways of grasping the affective dimension of musical experience that which traditional semiotics and musicology take little into account. Inspired by a dynamistic modelling ... [more ▼]

In this thesis, I suggest new ways of grasping the affective dimension of musical experience that which traditional semiotics and musicology take little into account. Inspired by a dynamistic modelling approach –which developed from the 1960s and since then has been influential in the domain of semiolinguistic disciplines–, I sketch out the fluctuating phases of semiogenesis within the field of piano masterclasses. The term ‘semiogenesis’ here, is taken in a broad sense, encompassing any deployment of sign-forms, either vague or articulated, diffused or well-defined. Such forms are conceived as being strained between expressiveness and normativity. They are also valorized in that they call the subject to participate in his or her own ‘lines of life’ which, in turn, may come to exist by those forms. A piano masterclass is given by a genuine master to highly accomplished students, both who truly testify to their own lives, to their own ways of ethical feeling, in the search for a unique musical praxis. In recent years, the field of masterclass has begun to attract the attention of the scientific community, especially in areas related to musical teaching and experience, such as psychology, aesthetics and epistemology or even sociology. Yet it is still suboptimal that most of the problems adopted in these frameworks incorporate nothing or so little in terms of the metamorphosis of sensitivity and the play of musical feeling in the characterization of their research objects. Nevertheless, the field of piano masterclass seems to be a particularly interesting and promising object of research in that the horizon of affect is preeminent in all the semiotic activities tied to it. Thus, I have attended several masterclasses in order to closely follow the praxis of the musicians (e.g., active and passive participation in masterclasses, audiovisual recordings, interviews, conversations and debates on music, etc.), in the spirit of making all its genetic depth to the semiotic activity, by approaching it under the perspective of an encountering and an orientation of musical sensibilities. One of the main tasks of my approach in the designing of the descriptions of this particular musical praxis consists in understanding the acoustic, gestural and linguistic phenomena, as giving birth to semiogenetic conditions of the constitution of a musical meaning. In this way, it is a fundamentally descriptive method, inspired by philosophical (Shaftesbury, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty) and semiotic (Peirce, Saussure) minds, which joins the semiotic preoccupation from the very initial levels of a microgenesis, and by promoting it immediately into a hermeneutical and existential phenomenology. The perceptive and semiogenetic issues of musical sensitivity allow us to remodel the notion of a musical motive, understood both as a motive-of-praxis and as an existential-motive. I tried to grasp the idea of a certain listening of the musical praxis by finding there a constant passage between an ethical perception, and the search –through the playing of the music and its motives–, for a musical personality engaged in the musical praxis. Such conceptions on motive and personality proved to be fruitful to the extent that they make it possible to suggest a certain ethic of musical feeling, without reducing it to a skill, a psychology or a ritual. I have thus managed to redefine the notion of a musical ‘sign’ by playing up on the 'motival' horizon of this semiotic activity, understood – in the formal and sensitive nature of musical practices– as participation (i.e., desire and commitment to participate) to a certain regime of human existence. In this way, I believe to be paving the way for a new conception of musical praxis, which interweaves aesthetics and ethics. The thesis thus addresses these problems by casting six successive contemplations on it: Piano Masterclass; Feeling, Knowing and Doing; Field and Form; Motive and Form; Lines of Life; Enchantment. [less ▲]

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