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The Influence of Berio Sequenza V on Trombone Repertoire and Technique

Baldwin, Kerry Jane (2020) The Influence of Berio Sequenza V on Trombone Repertoire and Technique. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Awarded for a Collaborative Programme of Research at the Royal Northern College of Music by Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The trombone has a vast repertoire of techniques and sounds available and presents a range of possibilities to composers wanting to explore these areas. However, in the first half of the twentieth century many of these were not utilised whereas the second half of the twentieth century saw a period of change in the trends of instrumental technique. New approaches by composers and performers saw a rise in the number and type of instrumental techniques facilitated by instrument modifications and performance skills (Baldwin & Manchester Metropolitan, 2013; Herbert et al., 1997). Luciano Berio wrote the series of 14 Sequenzas for solo instruments between 1958 and 2002 to explore the idiom and capabilities of each featured instrument and increase the available pool of techniques. Although, for example, John Cage’s Solo for Sliding Trombone in 1957 (Cage, 1957-8) included distinct technical innovation, Sequenza V is widely regarded as the first substantial coherent work by a major western classical composer that consistently employs such extended techniques (Herbert, 2006). Berio’s intention was to expand technique without using instrument alteration (Berio et al., 1989). My research is based around this pivotal time in trombone history and investigates how Berio’s Sequenza V (1966) was a turning point in the development of trombone technique. The aims of this research are to analyse and collate distinctive trombone playing techniques utilised in this and other pioneering works from the twentieth century. In addition, I aim to outline the distinctive characteristics influencing this development, and establish which techniques were introduced for the first time in this work and which ones were introduced earlier by other performers and composers including jazz artists. I will chart further innovation of composers and performers in the art and jazz idioms. By learning and performing specific trombone repertoire, a critical commentary of this first-hand research will be produced. This will identify the impact of Sequenza V on later solo trombone repertoire, including how its performance and compositional techniques have been continued into newer works. This research expands on the body of knowledge available for the trombonist, providing an important resource for scholars and practitioners of the trombone and its repertoire and techniques.

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