Events Calendar

Talking Music

Talking Music
Location: College Street Campus, room HA08

A new staff seminar series 'Talking Music' begins on Wednesday, 7 February.

Talking Music is a new series set up by the staff of the BA (Hons) Music programme as a platform to highlight the research, composition and performance projects being undertaken by them. The plan is to run four sessions this semester. ​

To launch this series, mezzo soprano Bridget Knowles will present her research on 'The Tessitura of the Contralto Voice in Handel's Operas' and classical guitarist Michael O'Toole will speak about 'The impact of John Williams on the Classical Guitar.' 

Talking Music is free and is for anyone who has an interest in music.

Bridget Knowles is a Mezzo Soprano and lecturer in Music at WIT. At the launch of Talking Music, she will present her research on The Tessitura of the Contralto Voice in Handel's Operas: A Quantitative Analysis and the Implications for Modern Performance Practice.

Research in the field of operatic performance has overlooked Handel's contraltos in favour of his castrati and soprano performers. Furthermore, in modern opera production, Handel's contralto roles are usually sung by other voice types, typically, mezzo-sopranos and countertenors. This is never the case for his soprano, tenor and bass roles which are always sung by the modern-day equivalent voices. This paper details a quantities analysis of the tessitura used by Handel when writing operatic roles for the contralto voice and considers the implications for the modern practice of having these roles performed by the higher mezzo-soprano.

Michael O'Toole is a classical guitarist and lecturer in Music at WIT. At the launch of Talking Music, he will speak about the Impact of John Williams upon the Classical Guitar.

This paper focuses on the influence that guitarist John Williams has exerted upon his chosen instrument. By assessing Williams' background and the context of his career, it examines how he has affected change both in terms of public perception and that of guitarists themselves. By drawing on examples of Williams' numerous crossover projects, his open-minded approach to both repertoire and technology, I will demonstrate his impact on the perception of the guitar in the last six decades and focus upon the idea that as well as rebelling against the perceptions of Segovia, Williams was both honouring the guitar's long-established traditions as a folk and popular instrument and acting as a forerunner to the inclusive musicological writings of such scholars as Victor Anand Coelho and Kevin Dawe.

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