Date of Graduation
College of Creative Arts
Using selected 78-rpm era recordings of Claude Debussy’s Syrinx, this research will explore the development of flute vibrato in early twentieth century recordings (ca. 1928-1953). The recordings that will be used in this case study include those of prominent flutists Marcel Moyse (recordings from 1928 and 1950), Martin Ruderman (1947 – 1948), Jean Pierre-Rampal (1949), and William Kincaid (1950 and 1953). The range of recordings include those of studio quality as well as live performances on Library of Congress Music Division Concerts, each selected from Susan Nelson’s The Flute on Record: The 78 Rpm Era: A Discography and further narrowed based upon availability. Although the pedagogy of flute vibrato has now been studied more in depth, the aim of this study is to evaluate the differences in the practice of vibrato and its pedagogy in the recordings from 1928-1953. The study aims to use previous studies by Mark Katz and Martha Feldman, which trace violin vibrato practice as a result of the “phonograph effect” and castrato practice on the decline at the end of the nineteenth century respectively, as a basic model for this flute vibrato research. In addition to the recordings, the research considers the apparent influence of the French style of playing (represented by a majority of the recordings from the selected period) as well as pedagogical writings—when available—from each of the performers. Results of the study found that vibrato trends are largely seen as a product of early recording projection needs in conjunction with the influence of the French style of flute playing, imitation (of teachers and recording artists), and modified vibrato usage of the artists due to use in the recording studio. To my knowledge, the influence of the early recording era on flute vibrato has only been explored superficially, but the aim is that this study will lay the framework for further exploration of a larger body of flute repertoire and recording artists of the early twentieth century.
Reynolds, Angela, "Flute Vibrato during the 78-rpm Era: An Exploration of Representative Recordings of Claude Debussy's Syrinx, 1928-1953." (2017). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8208.