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The ‘Nicholsonian effect’: Aspects of ‘tone’ in early nineteenth-century flute performance practice in England, with particular reference to the work of Charles Nicholson (1795-1837)

Shaw, Martyn (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Charles Nicholson (1795-1837) was one of the most important figures in the evolution of the flute. His influence on the design of the Boehm flute is widely acknowledged. However, the contribution he made as a catalyst for developments in flute performance practice in early nineteenth-century England, is not. Such was Nicholson’s reputation for variety of tone in his playing, that the term ‘Nicholsonian effect’ was coined. This research examines the tone of the flute, and uniquely places it within the context of the interrelationship between performance, pedagogy and flute-design in Nicholson’s work. Tone manipulation emerges as a crucial feature of the style with particular importance attached to three things: tone-colour, ‘vibration’ and the glide. The resulting tone variation constitutes the essence of the style. Research in this field is lacking, and has established only broader performing contexts. This research represents the first detailed study of the form and function of tone-colour, ‘vibration’ and the glide within early nineteenth-century English flute performance practice. An original ‘Nicholson’s “Improved” flute’ has been used to inform the research throughout this study. It will also be used to apply the research in the recital which forms the other half of my PhD submission.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):O'Neill, Mary J.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Music
Subjects:M Music
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:4923
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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