Principal Aims and Objectives

PETAL - Principal Aims and Objectives

As a follow-up project to the FWF stand-alone project A Context-Sensitive Theory of Post-tonal Sound Organization [CTPSO], the proposed project intends to extend the music-analytical methodology developed during the CTPSO project to the interrelated fields of music analysis, music history and musical performance studies. It specifically aims to elaborate on the perception-sensitive music-analytical tools of CTPSO, rethinking them and applying them to practices and concepts in the performance of music from different epochs, thus broadening the historical scope from the era of post-tonal music, for which CTPSO was originally conceived, to music since c. 1700, i.e. to the “common-practice” period of major-minor-tonality. On a general level, the PETAL project aims to scrutinize the intersection between musical analysis and musical performance, not least by taking up the refined strands of recent musical performance studies, as exemplified by Nicholas Cook’s monograph Beyond the Score (Cook 2013; see the review in Utz 2015), building on their proposed interaction of quantitative and qualitative methods, signified by Cook’s key term “augmented listening” (Cook 2014, 1, 14). However, the current project also proposes to add substantially to such approaches by integrating more rigorously perception-informed analytical methods, emerging from the CTPSO project, into this field, not least because some trends in musical performance studies, arguably, tended to sideline analysis in general, notwithstanding more recent interest “in how score-based structure relates to music as performance” (Leong 2016, [7]).


Taking Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” as a model, a work explored in a recent article by the PI (Utz 2017) which may serve as a kind of pilot study, the PETAL project aims to put the focus on a selected number of influential and broadly performed and discussed
cyclic works of the solo piano and lied repertoire, comprising works from the 18th to the 20th centuries. In expanded multi-movement cyclic works the impact of the performer to “create (macro-)form” becomes most obvious as the multiplicity of performative strategies is particularly rich and divergent in these cases. A corpus of cyclic works will be investigated employing a threefold research strategy:


(1) Research into secondary historical sources on the relationship between (macroform-related) analysis and performance practices pertaining to the selected repertoire, aiming at an integration of historical dimensions of musical listening and musical performance and providing a historical ground on which augmented listening can be performed and explored (
historical research HR);


(2) The study of musical recordings and related sources with the aim of documenting a comprehensive performance and recording history of the selected repertoire, applying a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods as suggested by recent musical performance studies and demonstrated by the pilot articles of the PI (Utz 2016c, 2017) (
performance research PR);


(3) Most notably, PETAL will develop new innovative dialogic forms of research in a series of three interactive workshops, in which PETAL scholars and collaborating performers and scholars, as well as other expert and non-expert listeners, share their perspectives on the selected repertoire (
dialogic research DR). The main intention of this component is to interlock performance and analysis closely and to experiment with different modes of performance and listening.


These three workshops will be documented succinctly by the PETAL research team in the form of video and audio recordings as well as written transcripts. This documentation in turn will be interpreted against the framework provided by the other two major research components, providing the substance of the project-related publications. The connection between the three fields of research will be facilitated by the corroboration of all materials and findings in a digital database which will interconnect text, audio and video material from all three research areas.