Research

List of recent academic papers

 

2018: Violin intonation and two new paradoxical whole-tones in meantone tempered practice: a case-study on Bach’s Grave in A minor

submission for the D.M.A Final Doctoral Project

This study introduces the concept that in non-keyboard meantone performance the difference between the large and small just whole-tones still remains, but is tamed down. This concept is both striking from a historical perspective for the meantone devotee, but also from the perspective of modern performers who, influenced by the sounds of equal temperament and ‘expressive intonation,’ have been attached to the Pythagorean whole-tone 9:8, and neglected the small whole-tone 10:9 for the past century. With an objective analysis of the micro-adjustments that would ideally happen on the violin with the strings tuned in sixth-comma meantone, this paper shows the precise possible shadings of the tempered intervals and it notates exactly how tamed down they are from their just intervals.

2017: Untempering Bach’s Solo Violin Sonatas and the interpretability of intonation

submission for the D.M.A. Qualigying examination, California Institute of the Arts (L.A.)

An extensive research paper comparing the practicalities and implications of performing the solo violin Sonatas with the strings tuned in sixth-comma meantone temperament and in 5-and 7-limit just intonation, with a specific proposal for scordatura tunings for the second and third sonatas.

2017: Tuning and Matter – reflections 

submission for the D.M.A. Qualigying examination, CalArts  

A personal exploration of key concepts in my compositional interdisciplinary work and how these elementsy are connected: the time of tuning, tuning and the sonorous body, unpredictability, wax, symbol, and the ephemerality of time.

2016: A propostional model for microtonal composition, research and performance

submission for Performer-Composer History and Aesthetics class, CalArts

A selection of my work as an integrative and propositional model for performance, composition and theory, in the field of microtonal composition and string performance practice. It introduces the concept of “expressive” intonation and its novel use as an embedded scale in 53-tone equal temperament.

2015: Arditti: performer-composer? Reflections on interpretation

submission for Performer-Composer History and Aesthetics class, CalArts

What is interpretation, and is interpretation just a re-creative act? Who really is the interpreter in the musical process? Are both composition and performance an act of translation? An attempt to understand and explain how performance can be fully projected as creative activity.

2014 Unfretting the violin: theory, composition and practice of microtonal string music

submission for the Mmus in Research and Performance, Royal Academy of Music (London)

Artistic research on the performer as a theoretician and composer in the field of microtonal string music, and four case-studies composed by Sara Cubarsi. It includes a personal exploration of the 53-tone scale in Pythagorean Intonation.

2013: Sacred Colour: an analysis of Olivier Messiaen’s musique colorée

submission for the BMus Research Elective class, R.A.M.

An in-depth analysis and aesthetic discussion of the pitch-color correspondances found in Bryce Canyons et les roches rouge-orange (from Des Canyons aux étoiles) and codified in Messiaen’s Tome VII: Traité de Rythme, de Couleur, et d’Ornitologie.

© Sara Cubarsi, 2018