Periodization Theory and Peak Performance Exemplified Through Extended Techniques
V. Physical Preparation – Body Conscious Preparation
a. Stamina in Modern Music Before we dive into the high-wave, or body conscious components of prepa- ration, I am going to talk a bit about ﬁtness and stamina. In 2010, I pub- lished a case study in Medical Problems of Performing Artists35 that docu- mented the higher physical demands found in new music versus traditional repertoire. The repertoire that inspired the study is from a group of com- posers using air as a compositional element, that is, all of the breaths are composed into the piece. Helmut Lachenmann, Nikolaus Huber and Heinz Holliger are some composers doing this. This is not unique to the ﬂute as there are other works for other wind and brass instruments that use inhaling- while-playing and breath-holding as part of the music. The difﬁculty in this is that there is a build-up of CO2 in the lungs when the breath is being held. This can cause a higher heart rate, an exertion headache and lowered cog- nition. Immediately after the extended breathing technique, the ﬂutist might have an added difﬁculty in returning to the “normal” passages as the body seeks to recover from the stress. The heart will pound. In the study, test areas from Heinz Holliger’s (t)tair(e) were contrasted with test areas from traditional repertoire. To make the comparison more pro- nounced, the pieces from traditional repertoire were those notorious for breathing challenges, the Scherzo from a Midsummer Night’s Dream of Mendelssohn and Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun. The...
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