22 January 2020 – Mukasa Situma Wafula (University of Music Franz Liszt, Weimar)

Musical performance contexts and aesthetics of the Bukusu people of Kenya

CM107, 2-4pm

In daily life the aesthetic embodiment of African music viewed in terms of dance, singing, costumes, panegyrics, body décor and painting, together with its inherent indigenous knowledge systems, is critical to its functional fulfilment and musical meaning. Since the arrival of missionaries (1840s) and the beginning of colonialism (1895 – establishment of the East African protectorate), new contexts for musical performance have been created to include competitive and cultural music festivals, cultural exhibitions, demonstrations at cultural revival centres and enterprise development environments. These contexts continue to witness musical presentations that employ expressions derived from diverse cultural systems not akin to African cultures. A transformational process emerges in the Bukusu music of Kenya that presents an intriguing phenomenon where its inherent indigenous knowledge systems that define an aesthetics of musical performance are not necessarily accurately reproduced and are even misrepresented, for example as neo-indigenous creative products. This presentation is based on ethnographic research that focuses on interactive strategies and analytical descriptions of social scenes and practices. One revelation is that Bukusu music has generated new meaning, largely dictated by changing social demands, thereby affecting social order, cohesion, control and sustainability of cultural features of the community.


Mukasa Wafula is a doctoral student with Prof. Dr. Tiago de Oliveira Pinto, holder of the UNESCO Chair on Transcultural Music Studies, University of Music Franz Liszt, Weimar. Mukasa teaches musicology at the Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi, having previously studied for his BA Music and MA Music at Kenyatta University, Nairobi. He is also a choir director and plays litungu, a seven-stringed lyre from the Bukusu community of Western Kenya.

20 November 2019 – Dr Matthew Spring, Visiting Research Fellow (Bath Spa University)

The Eglantine Table at Hardwick Hall – a document of renaissance social music-making in a shared space

TNG17, 1.30-3.30pm

No source of the sixteenth century presents the rich musical culture of Elizabethan England so vividly, or with such comprehensiveness, as the Eglantine Table. This astonishing piece of Elizabethan furniture, manufactured in the 1560s for ‘Bess’ of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury, is now at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. In exquisitely detailed marquetry, the surface depicts a lute, viol, fretted violin, harp, cittern, bagpipe, various trumpets, reed instruments and a renaissance guitar amidst playing cards, gaming boards, strewn flowers, heraldry, pen-holders and exuberant grotesquerie. There are also four representations of music notated on books or music rolls, including a drinking song and a four-part setting by the foremost composer of the earlier Elizabethan period, Thomas Tallis.  

This talk considers the purpose of the table and how it was meant to function.  It looks at other tables depicted in paintings of the period used for social music-making and considers the ergonomics of performance for both players and listeners around a table. The patronage of musicians from the Cavendish, Talbot and related families is considered alongside the wider social and cultural context for music-making among professionals and amateurs. Connections between the Willoughby and the Cavendish families give a particular focus to the Willoughby lute manuscript, its repertoire representative of the sort music that might have been played on and around the table.

26 June 2019 – Dr Omar Yousaf (Bath Spa University)

Creativity, mindfulness, and emotional regulation

CM223 2-4pm

In psychological research, various methodologies are used to tap into creativity and the necessary conditions for its unfolding. A recent cross-sectional study of professionals and students revealed that self-reported creativity was predicted by the level of mindfulness and the extent to which individuals were able to regulate their emotions. Possible mechanisms of these associations will be discussed in the context of creative performance.

Dr Omar Yousaf is an experimental social psychologist who for the last decade has conducted research into human motivation, personality, religious cognition, mindfulness, and emotional and cognitive abilities. His publications include articles in the journals: MindfulnessJournal of Social Psychology, and Journal of Cognitive Psychology

26 June 2019 – Maria Donohue (University of Huddersfield)

Tracking the creative process in free improvising ensembles 

CM223 11am

Experiments in creating a methodology for analysing and presenting the creative process of free improvisational ensembles will be presented. The approach and goal of the methodology is to build the definition of improvisation from the player and the ensemble. A new design for improvisational analysis looks beyond the boundaries of style segmentations, idiomatic discourse, and training/technique debates. The presented methodology seeks to understand how different creative processes generate an individual’s language, and tracks how these practices leave trace in educational and performative improvisational history. New technological developments are providing the opportunities to explore innovative techniques in self-reported feedback, and video documentation of ensemble work and discussion. This research is under the IRiMaS project (Interactive Research in Music as Sound) funded by the European Research Council.Maria Donohue (Brooklyn, NY) is a pianist, improviser, and artist who focuses on audience expansion through interdisciplinary collaboration and research. Donohue has a first class Bachelor’s and Master’s in Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and is a PhD candidate at Huddersfield University (ERC-funded project: Interactive Research in Music as Sound). Her performing career includes locations such as Carnegie Hall, Edinburgh Fringe, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, and Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania. Donohue is a member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, in collaboration with visual artist Gino Ballantyne, and co-founded EAST for interdisciplinary knowledge exchange. She has recently presented her improvisational research at ISIM (International Society of Improvised Music) and METRIC (modernising European higher music education through improvisation). She is the recipient of the Governors Recital Prize, New Piano Stars competition, and is supported by the Dewar Awards and Creative Scotland.

22 May 2019 – Dr Cecilia Quaintrell (Bath Spa University)

Borderless musicology: developing syncretistic approaches

NEG13 – 2-4pm

The work of devising meaningful analytical approaches for exploring the kaleidoscopic diversity of the world’s music continues to be frustrated by the fact that cross-cultural analysis is deeply contentious in ethnomusicology, which lags far behind the other arts, humanities and social sciences in this regard. This talk considers the value of dynamic syncretistic approaches to projects encompassing the perspectives of diverse music communities, disciplines, and analytical techniques, and demonstrates the exciting possibilities of such work, and its necessity.

Cecilia Quaintrell worked as a clarinet and saxophone teacher and arts administrator before completing her PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of Bristol in 2017.Cecilia’s main research interests lie with developing innovative theoretical, interdisciplinary, collaborative and applied cross-cultural approaches to musicology. She is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at Bath Spa University, working on diverse interdisciplinary and collaborative projects with Professor Amanda Bayley and Dr Mary Stakelum, and in March 2019 was supported by GALA funding to visit Addis Ababa University to explore possible collaborations for the ICP’s BirdMusic project.

Wednesday 13th March 2019 – Dr Robert Crawshaw (Institute of Social Futures at Lancaster University and former HoD of European Languages and Cultures)

Cultural Literacy in Practice

11am – 1pm in Commons CM131 and 2-4pm in TNG17

Following the successful Cultural Literacy in Practice interdisciplinary research event at BSU in 2018, this year’s seminar on Wednesday 13th Marchincludes presentations by Dr Robert Crawshaw (Institute of Social Futures at Lancaster University and former HoD of European Languages and Cultures), Dr Robert Luzar (Senior Lecture in Fine Art, BSAD), Dr Hyelim Kim (Visiting Research Fellow in Music) and Dr Penny Hay (Senior Lecture in Arts Education, IfE). The presentations throughout the day will provide insights into defining cultural literacy and the questions that arise across disciplines when designing and conducting research in this area. The focus will be on interrogation and discussion.

Both the morning and afternoon sessions will follow the same format of two presentations followed by a workshop designed to (re-)define cultural literacy for future projects as well as planning their sustainable impact. The session from 11am to 1pm, in Commons CM131, will begin with Robert Luzar considering the crossovers between writing and drawing in contemporary art, and within the cultural contexts around identity and ‘performative’ actions. Robert Crawshaw will then report on an art residency collaboration in Narva, Estonia, that explores how cultural literacy involves understanding the dynamic two-way relationship between representation and collective experience.

Beginning the afternoon session, 2-4pm in TNG17, Hyelim Kim (performer of the taegŭm – Korean bamboo flute), will discuss her experiences of intercultural communication, ranging from the poetics of Peter Wiegold’s gestural signals in his Third Orchestra (at the Barbican, London, 16 February 2019), to the digital medium of a telematic concert. Then Penny Hay will give a presentation on the Forest of Imagination in relation to the Bathscape Landscape Partnership – a Heritage Lottery funded project aimed at reconnecting people with the natural landscape surrounding Bath.

Wednesday 6 February 2019 – Murat Gurel, Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University, Turkey

Transcription and analysis of traditional Turkish music

 MTG01, 2-4pm

Exquisite details ofornamentation and expression in traditional Turkish music can be discovered and understood from studying oral traditions learned from performance practice and sound recordings. The concepts of makam, ‘Huseyni’ makam and taksim (improvisation with instrument) will be illustrated through live performance and recordings of Turkish violin players. Melodic analysis of a violin taksim will include an example from Antolian folk music. The violin has only established its position in traditional Turkish music since the beginning of the 18th century. A method of analysis based on the transcription of the violinist Sadi Isılay’s Huseyni makam violin taksim from the 20th century reveals a way of preserving and learning this tradition, making the repertoire more accessible to musicians unfamiliar with Turkish music. 

Since 2010 Murat Gurel has been a lecturer in traditional Turkish violin playing at Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University, Traditional Turkish Music State Conservatory, Department of Instrument Education. In 2016 he completed his PhD on The Analysis of Nubar Tekyay’s Violin Taksims and he continues to research and teach Turkish music theory and practice based on Anatolian Ecole Edvar (old books that instruct makams between the 15th and 18th centuries). He regularly performs as a soloist and ensemble player in concerts in Turkey and at international festivals, as well as giving workshops and seminars. Gurel is an instructor and participant in the ERC-funded project, Beyond East and West: Developing and Documenting an Evolving Transcultural Musical Practice involving the University of Bristol and Bath Spa University (2015-2020).