From my perspective as a classically trained flutist, I investigate in my PhD* the different ways in which musical knowledge becomes potentially re-contextualized through the practice of Soundpainting, a sign language created by North-American musician Walter Thompson in the 1970s. I explore this practice from both the vantage points of the performer, who improvises according to the musical parameters attributed to each body/hand sign, and of the group leader (i.e., soundpainter), who defines and presents through one’s own body the sequences of signs that will be explored by the ensemble at each moment of the performance.
In parallel to this I develop tools for exploring this medium also in the dimension of individual instrumental practice, and work towards creating pieces for solo flute or one flutist playing with multiple flutes (e.g., piccolo, alto, and contrabass flutes) also in collaboration with different soundpainters. The move away from performing traditionally notated flute music towards playing in situations characterized by higher degrees of musical indeterminacy, and the move beyond playing my instrument towards using my own body to play an enlarged instrument (i.e., a soundpainting ensemble) bring forth challenges and opportunities for the recognition, application, and expansion of musical knowledge. Analysis of audio/video recordings and interviews with both students of the Malmö Academy of Music and professional artists involved with performance and performance education are conducted from a hermeneutical point of view.
Through the study of the relations between parts and whole that compose these experiences, other research tools derived from fields such as cognitive semiotics aid on understanding and disclosing important aspects of music embodied cognition.
* My PhD studies are financed through a scholarship awarded by CAPES, an agency of the Ministry of Education of Brazil.