Markus Tullberg

Markus Tullberg

Postdoctoral Fellow, Postdoktor

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Personal profile

Research

As a researcher and musician, my research interests involve music and musical practice in a broad sense. My postdoctoral project focuses on artistic expression within the realm of music education in upper secondary schools in Sweden, while my doctoral dissertation, Wind and Wood – Affordances of Musical Instruments: The Examle of the Simple-System Flute (2021) explored the relationship and interaction between musician and musical instrument. This project got me involved in the emerging field of 4E cognition. Hence, I am also a member of the Com Cog Lab at Lund University. Being an active musician, I view artistic practice as an extension of my research.

 

Summary of the PhD project

Wind and Wood

Affordances of Musical Instruments: The Examle of the Simple-System Flute

The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to explore and describe the relationship and interaction between musicians and their instruments. In order to achieve a high level of detail, a certain instrument is in focus: the simple-system flute. Although primarily developed as a product of 19th-century Western art music, this instrument has since become established in other genres and traditions.

Empirical data is generated through two qualitative studies. Study A consists of interviews with six flute players, including one flute maker. Together they represent a variety of European music traditions, and hence, the simple-system flute is perceived and used in different ways. In the cooperative inquiry of Study B, six flute players came together to investigate their own musical practice and approach towards their instruments.

The central analytical concept is affordances, as coined by ecological psychologist James J. Gibson. The concept of affordances is combined with ideas from the emerging research paradigm of 4E cognition, in particular ideas from the extended and enactive dimensions.

Through the analysis, affordances of musical instruments are defined as: perceived opportunities for actions arising from the sensorimotor relationship of the interaction with the instrument, as these unfold in the flow of musical practice.

The analysis also shows that the cross-modal perceptual experience of the instrument varies between musicians. Viewed through the lens of affordances, this variation entails qualitatively different ways of playing.

The perspective on musical learning that emerges through the analysis is discussed in terms of self- organization in which the development of the relationship between musician and instrument allows for an increasing capacity to perceive and act upon affordances of the instrument.

This perspective on musical learning implies an understanding of music education as a form of eduction, where the learner is given appropriate space for self-organization and the educator assumes to role of sense-maker of the learning process, and facilitator and moderator of new musical experiences. The dynamic relationship between the individual learner and the educational environment is articulated as an ecological responsibility.

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