Performance as a Research Instrument: An Example from the Western European Baroque

Edward C. Van Ness


In this paper, I discuss performance as a research instrument in Western European classical music.  I describe considerations and process leading to my performance of Corelli Op. 5 no. 12 "Follia" in the Indonesian Chamber Music Festival 2011 at ISI Yogyakarta Concert Hall.  Corelli's Follia (La Folia), as it is commonly known, is a canonized work which opens many professional violinist's recital programs. Its real identity has become marginalized and transformed through rather blind reliance on 19th-century editions by violinists who wished to adopt it to "mainline" romantic concepts of style and performance. This process of adaption has been characteristic of European classical music for centuries. Works of earlier times were reshaped both in performance and in print editions to fit prevailing musical tastes.  I chose to approximate an appropriate ensemble with modern instruments. Using a constructivist approach, I employed aspects of Baroque performance practice, especially in ornamentation and embellishment, along with manipulation of rhythmic elements and in a more spontaneous, and consciously contemporary manner.  I take the opportunity to contribute to productive dialogue regarding the role of performance at Music Department, the Faculty of Performing Arts, Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts, and qualitative research. I seek to open up our discourse to a wider understanding beyond the persistent positivist continues to approach the academic world in Indonesia as the only platform for research theory and method.  I suggest that this performance, like any other, is an informed adventure across time and space and that ethnomusicology and music are no longer separate worlds.


performance, violin, Baroque, Corelli.

Full Text:



Books and journal articles

Boyden, David D. 1965/1969. The history of violin playing from its origins to 1761, and its relationship to the violin and violin music. London: Oxford University Press.

Brown, Clive. 1999/2008. Classical and romantic performing practice 1750-1900. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Published on Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008.

Donington, Robert. 1974. The Interpretation of Early Music. New York: St. Martin.

Draper, P., & Harrison, S. 2011. “Through the eye of a needle: The emergence of a practice-led research doctorate in music,” in British Journal of Music Education, 28(1), 87-102.

Geminiani, Francesco (edited by David D. Boyden, 1952). 1751. The art of playing on the violin. London: Oxford University Press.

Gergen. 1991. The saturated self: Dilemmas of identity in contemporary life, New York: Basic Books.

Joachim, J. & Chrysander, F. 1890. The works of Arcangelo Corelli Livre III no. 4. London: Auguner Ltd.

Kramer, J. 2000. “The nature and origins of postmodernism,” in Current Musicology, pp. 65, 7-20.

Quantz, Johann Joachim (trans. by E. K. Reilly). 1966. On Playing the flute. New York: Schirmer Books, 1966

Rangel-Ribeiro, Victor. (1981) Baroque music: A practical guide for the performer. New York: Schirmer Books.

Samudra, Jaida Kim. 2008. "Memory in Our Body: Thick Participation and the Translation of Kinesthetic Experience," in American Ethnologist 35, no. 4 (2008): 665-81.

Shelemay, K. K. (2001). “Toward an ethnomusicology of the Early Music Movement: Thoughts on bridging disciplines and musical worlds.” Ethnomusicology, 45(1), 1-29.

Taruskin, Richard. (1988). “The pastness of the present and the presence of the past,” in Authenticity and Early Music, edited by Nicholas Kenyon, 137-207. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Vanscheeuwijck, M. (1996). “The Baroque Cello and its Performance.” in Performance Practice Review ix: 78–96.

Recorded examples

Corelli Archangelo. La Follia, op. 5 no 12. Live recording, ISI Auditorium, 2011. Van Ness, Ed, violin; Alfian, cello; Utari, electronic harpsichord.

Corelli, Archangelo et al. Sonatas (12) for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 5: no 12 in D minor "La Follia." Altre Follie 1500-1750. Hespèrion XXI ensemble dir. Jordi Savall.

Corelli, Archangelo. Corelli La Follia. CO-RELLI, A.: Violin Sonatas, Op. 5, Nos. 1, 3, 6, 11, 12. Kohnen, Robert; Kuijken, Sigiswald; Kuijken, Wie-land. ACCENT ACC10033

Corelli, Archangelo. Corelli, La Follia, op. 5 no. 12. Follia. Meister MM1124 Col-legium Musicum Telemann; Naka-no, Shin-ichiro, leader.

Corelli, Archangelo. Corelli-Geminiani Fol-lia. Opus 111 OP30172. Europa Ga-lante, Fabio Biondi dir.

Handel, George Frederick: "Sonata in D major op 13, no. 1." Handel Violin Sonatas. Naxos 8.572245. Daskala-kis, Ariadne, violin; Hambitzer, Gerald, viola da gamba; Zipperling, Rainer, harpsichord.

Handel, George Frederick: "Sonata in D major, op 13 no. 1." Baroque Violin Favorites. Naxos 8.555960

Handel, George Frederick: Sonata in D major, op 13 no 1." Live Recording, AMI Auditorium 1978. Performed by Edward Van Ness and Jack Body.


Brown, Howard Mayer et al. "Performing practice." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed September 21, 2009).

Bruno Nettl, et al. "Improvisation." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed July 17, 2011).

Butt, John. "Authenticity." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed July 2, 2011).

Davies, Stephen & Sadie, Stanley. "Interpretation." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, grove/music/13863 (accessed July 2, 2011).

Gertsch, Norbert. (2014, January 6). Corelli, La Folia, and Rachmaninoff’s Variations, Op. 42. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://www.henle. de/blog/en/2014/01/06/corelli-la-folia-and-rachmaninoff%E2%80%99s-variations-op-42/

Haskell, Harry. "Early music." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed July 2, 2011).

Michael Talbot. "Corelli, Arcangelo." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, http://www.oxfordmusic grove/music/06478 (accessed July 17, 2011

Mülleman, Norbert. 2012, April 16. On the lookout for the lost measure: Bach’s C-major Prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier I. [Blog Post]. Re-trieved from blog/en/2012/04/16/on-the-lookout-for-the-lost-measure-bach%E2%80% 99s-c-major-prelude-from-the-well-tempered-clavier-i/


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 132 times
PDF - 104 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN: 2338-039X (print) | ISSN: 2477-538X (online)