Eric Clarke

Keynote at RPPW2021: "In the wake of Henry Shaffer"


The video below is a Zoom recording of the live keynote presentation. The captions are auto-generated and can be turned off in the bottom right control panel.


This keynote pays tribute to the work of Henry Shaffer (1929-2020), who attended RPPW1 in Cambridge in 1984 (and was characteristically dismissive of it!), and whose work made pioneering contributions to the detailed study of timing in musical performance. These included a commitment to complex rhythmic behaviours, the study of those behaviours in realistic circumstances, the development of a unique technology to make that research possible, and rigorous but unconventional methods. I reflect on some of those contributions and the impact that they have had on the field, and consider some of the ways in which research has moved on or away from the approach that Henry’s research represented. In particular I pick up on what Henry always called rubato but which is now more commonly called microtiming and consider again the relationship between continuously variable and categorical values; motor programming and its alternatives; and finally some recent work on timing and togetherness in large ensemble performance, and arguments for the historicity of the concept of ‘togetherness’.


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Eric Clarke

Eric Clarke is Heather Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, and a Professorial Fellow of Wadham College. He has published on a variety of topics in the psychology of music with a focus on performance, ecological approaches to music perception, musical meaning, music and consciousness, musical creativity, and the analysis of pop music. Recent projects include work on music, empathy and cultural understanding; and empirical and historical approaches to the performance of C19th orchestral and chamber music. His books include Empirical Musicology (OUP 2004, with Nicholas Cook), Ways of Listening (OUP 2005), The Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music (CUP 2009, with Nicholas Cook, Daniel Leech-Wilkinson and John Rink), Music and Mind in Everyday Life (OUP 2010, with Nicola Dibben and Stephanie Pitts), Music and Consciousness (OUP 2011, with David Clarke), Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music (OUP 2017, with Mark Doffman), Music and Consciousness 2: Worlds, Practices, Modalities (OUP 2019, with Ruth Herbert and David Clarke), and Remixing Music Studies: Essays in honour of Nicholas Cook (Routledge 2021, with Ananay Aguilar, Ross Cole and Matthew Pritchard). He was elected a member of Academia Europaea in 2009, and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010.


Published June 23, 2021 10:57 AM - Last modified Sep. 27, 2022 3:13 PM