Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Norman Carey

Committee Members

Poundie Burstein

Joseph Straus

Aaron Kozbelt

Subject Categories



music performance, Stanislavski, grouping, embodiment schema, expression, music cognition


The dissertation provides an approach to the pedagogy of musical expression in applied music study. Exercises are provided which support a student’s mastery of the mechanics of grouping, and this mastery is put to work in an adaptation of the work of the great Russian acting teacher, Constantine Stanislavski. Mapping of embodiment schema in the manner of Lakoff and Johnson (1980) is asserted as a useful interface between grouped pitch objects and meaning; mappings are utilized by the instrumental music performer in the same manner as Stanislavski taught his acting students to utilize given circumstances. The discourse situates all of these skills in a gradually-emerging present; the exercises challenge the student to achieve what Stanislavski calls an unbroken line—a spontaneous and unique line of continually-restructuring narrative that evolves in real-time. Throughout the work, the phenomenon of grouping is examined in terms of (1) its relationship to meaning, (2) the physiology which supports it, (3) the Gestalt laws of similarity and trajectory which model it, (4) the parameters of unmarked performance nuance (vibrato, articulation, etc.) which can be used by a performer to project it, and (5) the state of continual evolution which characterizes it in the diachronic context of music.

UP.wav (1655 kB)
Supplementary File 1: an excerpt from BWV 1034: a motion UP is projected

DOWN.wav (1925 kB)
Supplementary File 2: an excerpt from BWV 1034: a motion DOWN is projected

network_1.wav (1849 kB)
Supplemental File 3: Ordered pitch set {E, D#, G, F#, E} performance 1

network_2.wav (1597 kB)
Supplemental File 4: Ordered pitch set {E, D#, G, F#, E} performance 2

network_3.wav (1786 kB)
Supplemental File 5: Ordered pitch set {E, D#, G, F#, E} performance 3

network_4.wav (1651 kB)
Supplemental File 6: Ordered pitch set {E, D#, G, F#, E} performance 4

network_5.wav (2097 kB)
Supplemental File 7: Ordered pitch set {E, D#, G, F#, E} performance 5

network_6.wav (2205 kB)
Supplemental File 8: Ordered pitch set {E, D#, G, F#, E} performance 6

Included in

Music Commons



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