Historical Performance Practice (EMUS5600)


This course examines historical performing practices up to the present day aiming to widen understanding of the extent to which musical notation and written evidence preserve the performing practices of past eras. The wealth of sound recordings from the turn of the twentieth century provides a window into the near past. Issues to explore include: sound production (vibrato, non-vibrato and portamento in the case of string and wind playing and singing), expressive keyboard techniques (manual asynchrony and arpeggiation), and more general issues such as tempo rubato, tempo modification, ornamentation, articulation, and phrasing. The course will introduce students to varying performance styles, some of which are no longer generally in fashion, increasing the palette of musical choices and solutions and increasing the dimensions of understanding of specific repertoire.

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Further unit of study information




Attendance and class participation (20%), Short class presentation (20%), Lecture/Demonstration (40%), Written work (based on Lecture/Demonstration-3,000 words) (20%)

Faculty/department permission required?


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Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.