This page highlights some of my research interests, but in addition to material I have worked on in academic settings, the texts and interviews below present more general thoughts and ideas.
|Psychology of music
While working on my doctoral research, I became increasingly interested in a number of aspects relating to the perception and cognition of music. Conclusions from a wide range of studies seemed to coincide with my experience and, perhaps more importantly, with some intuitively felt dimensions regarding composing, performing and teaching.
For example, both experimental and cross-cultural evidence point to the importance of not only socio-cultural influences but also universally shared elements in perceiving and generating musical material. I found the exploration of these ‘musical universals’ especially engaging, possibly as I could see some parallels with the way I approached composing, such as hierarchical organisation of the material and the control of tension and release; these are of course very general, underlying principles, and I explore them differently in every piece – but whether on a conscious level or not, I think have always been drawn to them during the compositional process.
I address some such universal and specific aspects in relation to my pieces in the programme notes for my CDs (see below).
Teaching is as important and exciting to me as composing and performing. Over the last 15 years or so I have taught violin, composition, theory/harmony on an individual basis, and between 2004-07 as part of a class called Stylistic Studies at the Royal College of Music I covered a range of material including 18th and 19th century harmony, forms and counterpoint and 20th century music history and analysis.
I am particularly interested in the application of new music to pedagogy. I started exploring this approach as part of my doctoral studies at the Royal College of Music (2002-07), focusing on literature on the psychology of music in children, prominent 20th century teaching methods, and resulting in the composition of my cycle Čekori (Macedonian for ‘Steps’): a collection of thirty-eight pieces for violin, gradually progressing in complexity and difficulty from beginners’ level to virtuosic, while using some techniques and musical elements present in 20th century and contemporary music. The full list of compositions including details regarding accompanying instrumentation can be seen on the Compositions page, and you can hear a live recording of several of the pieces on the Listen/watch page.
To read the abstract of my DMus thesis, entitled “Introducing elements of contemporary music in the process of violin teaching”, click here: DMusAbstract.
Other focus areas, explored in recent pieces (especially since 2008): microtonality, harmonic systems based on instrument construction and sonority (often combining harmonic series, pure intervals, equal temperament and quarter tones), physical aspects of sound production and performance.
I plan to present related material here soon. For now, see my Innova CD liner notes and the interview with Roger Heaton below for more details.
Profile by Angelina Dimoska (in Macedonian only) – part of new publication by CEM; includes excerpts from interview and brief overview of my recent innova CD