New PhDs are music to the ears

Uncertainty reigns and doubt about the future is fostered in all but the most optimistic minds. What has remained a constant is the North-West University’s (NWU’s) superlative research output and our researchers’ indefatigable pursuit of excellence.

At the May and June graduation ceremonies, 136 PhDs were awarded, with more ceremonies to follow before the end of the year.

Although there have been few opportunities to support live performance art during our various lockdown stages, we can still find solace in their digital guises. Of interest then are the three Doctor Musicae degrees (DMus degrees) bestowed upon researchers at the Faculty of Humanities.

All three took a unique approach to a universally beloved subject.

Polina Burdukova’s thesis is titled “The interpretation of Hans Huyssen’s Ugubu: a critical hermeneutic analysis through performative research”. In it she demonstrated that combining practice-based research and hermeneutics resulted in an interpretation of Ugubu that can be presented to the public in a convincing performance, thus making modern music more accessible. Hans Huyssen, a composer born in Pretoria, is a composer and Baroque cellist.

In Sharon de Kock’s thesis, “Exploring five professional violinists’ lived experiences of performance-related pain: an interpretative phenomenological analysis”, the researcher draws attention to the many musicians who struggle with pain and injuries, yet only a few have the courage to talk about their plight. She also provides helpful information for violinists, students, teachers and professional performers who are experiencing pain related to practising and performance.

Lastly there is Laetitia Annette Orlandi’s thesis, “Exploring five professional pianists’ spiritual experiences during music-making: an interpretive phenomenological analysis”. She contends that the spiritual music-making experiences of professional pianists are rooted in connectedness and sacred experiences. She developed a theory positing that music-making generates spiritual experiences through connection and intention.

These are but short summaries of vast amounts of research. For now and forever, music will remain a comfort, but it is thanks to researchers such as Dr Laetitita Annette Orlandi, Dr Sharon de Kock and Dr Polina Burdukova that we gain a deeper appreciation of this most unique companion. 

Submitted on Tue, 08/10/2021 - 13:02