Monash University
4264589_Thesis.pdf (7.98 MB)

The synthesis of music and dance: performance strategies for selected choreographic music works by Karlheinz Stockhausen

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posted on 2016-11-29, 03:47 authored by Heath, Karen Louise
This research project focuses primarily on the physical and interpretative aspects of performing choreographic music with particular reference to Stockhausen's Der Kleine Harlekin (1975) and In Freundschaft (1977). For purpose of this research, choreographic music refers to the genre where the musician is required to carry out dance movement at the same time as performing on an instrument. Furthermore, the models of choreographic music as presented within this paper are confined to the Western art music paradigm. Choreographic music, the synchronisation of instrumental performance with movement, is an art form that requires the musician to be multifaceted in their performance approach. With composers of choreographic music determining both bifurcations of music and movement, the genre seems to be generated solely within the domain of music. Yet as the choreographic musician amalgamates these two performance disciplines, a subsidiary effect is the incorporation of dramatic elements, necessary to certain pieces within the choreographic music repertoire. At times, the focus on dramatic elements is overt: Stockhausen's Harlek;n (1975) and Der Kleine Harlekin (1975) exemplify this, with performance requirements stipulating specific costuming as well as character personification for the performer. With choreographic music being essentially a hybrid of music, dance and drama, it is feasible that preparatory techniques leading up to performance should encompass extra-musical rehearsal strategies in an effort to enhance the overall performance outcome. This project aims to highlight physical considerations of combining choreography with music as well as to present discussions regarding the interpretation of choreographic music notation.


Principal supervisor

Joel Crotty

Additional supervisor 1

Robert Schubert

Additional supervisor 2

Susan van Den Ham

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music - Conservatorium


Master of Arts

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts