Playing with Metaphors: A cross-cultural study of string quartet rehearsal communication in Hong Kong and Japan
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AbstractThe last decade has witnessed increasing scholarly interest in the application of ethnomusicological techniques and approaches to the study and understanding of Western art music. This paper reports on the preliminary outcome of a three-year ethnographic research project on string quartet rehearsal involving collaboration by three scholars and two professional string quartets based in Hong Kong and Japan. We attended and video-recorded both quartets’ rehearsals over a six-month period and studied the players’ discursive strategies, with specific focus on (1) the interactions between musical, gestural and verbal modes of interactions; (2) the relative proportion of technical and expressive vocabularies in their verbal exchanges; and (3) the role of metaphorical and embodied descriptions when they negotiate interpretative claims. The preliminary data reveals that the performers often used metaphor to represent their structural understanding in sensory and perceptual terms (e.g. instead of using music-theoretical terminology to describe the directionality of a harmonic progression, they might use a description such as ‘run but let us pull you back’.) We hypothesize that metaphor is a means of mediating between—and integrating—abstract concepts and phenomenological experience, and propose a provisional framework for analysing the cross-domain mappings between musical events, cultural knowledge and physiological gesture in the rehearsal discourse of both quartets. We believe that our approach may facilitate a better understanding of the analytical processes implicit in performance preparation, and provide empirical support for assessing and refining extant theoretical models.
Acceptance Date03/06/2017
All Author(s) ListSu Yin Mak, Hiroko Nishida, Daisuke Yokomori
Name of ConferenceSociety for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting
Start Date of Conference26/10/2017
End Date of Conference29/10/2017
Place of ConferenceDenver
Country/Region of ConferenceUnited States of America
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsHong Kong, Japan, string quartet, metaphor, ethnography of rehearsal discourse

Last updated on 2018-04-06 at 12:13