Skådespelarens musikalitet

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This investigation takes its point of departure in the prominent use of the term ’musicality’ as a prestige word in theatre discourse where, obviously, not exactly the same reference and meaning is ascribed to the concept as in contexts of music. There seems to be very little previous research in this area, if any. The research question is formulated thus: What do theatre practicians mean when they speak of an actor acting with musicality?
The investigation is divided into three studies. The first study focuses on different perspectives on musicality in the field of music, based on explorative literature studies. The second study focuses on a sample of citations from literature on theatre where musicality and related concepts seem to be put forward in interesting and relevant ways in connection with spoken theatre. The third study is based on a series of explorative interviews with experienced Swedish actors and directors.
The results of the first study indicate that (i) references to art forms other than music are very rare among musicologists discussing the concept of musicality; and (ii) there are reasons to distinguish between different perspectives on musicality, for instance, between an absolute, a relativistic and a relational view.
The second study is divided in two sections, one chronological and one systematical. The historical overview presents and discusses three ideals or paradigms of theatre: the rhetorical, the realistic and the modernistic ideal. The systematic overview is structured in accordance with the different practitioners’ perspectives that are put forward: views related to ”musical dramaturgy” as well as the views of directors, educators and actors. Educational and professional theatre discourses through history as well as today are shown to include a great variety of perspectives on music and musicality.
A detailed analysis of the interviews in the third study indicates that the concept of musicality as understood and used by the interviewees can be interpreted as a combination of abilities in the actor. It is suggested that these abilities may be divided in three groups, all of which constitute necessary conditions for the actor’s musicality: acting and being ”here and now” with all senses (”presence”); apprehending, analysing and building structures (”structure”); and acting and being free, relaxed, active and open (”flow”).
In conclusion, the results of the study seem to indicate that the term ’musicality’ is often applied in the field of theatre in a way that could be understood as metaphorical. Based on these results, it would seem potentially fruitful to regard ’musicality’ in theatre discourse as a socially constructed concept with important artistic, educational as well as sociological implications.
Original languageSwedish
Place of PublicationMöklinta
PublisherGidlunds förlag
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Performing Arts
  • Music
  • Learning

Artistic work

  • Text

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