CharangaSue.com

Sue Miller – Cuban Flute Improviser, Writer & Academic

Content tagged with: research

Cuban Flute Style: Interpretation and Improvisation review in Latin American Music Review Journal

Review by Sunni Witmer of ‘Cuban Flute Style: Interpretation and Improvisation’ by Sue Miller in Latin American Music Review, Volume 37, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2016, Published by University of Texas Press
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/619638

‘All in all, Miller’s book is a valuable contribution to the scant research on charanga, and it is especially informative for those interested in improvisation, performance practices, analysis of popular music, flute performance, and, of course, Cuban music.’

ARSC Journal Review of Cuban Flute Style by Nestor Torres

I am honoured that the multi-talented flute player Nestor Torres has reviewed my book for the Association of Recorded Music Sound journal (ARSC):
‘I declare that Cuban Flute Style is brilliant and without precedent. The research work is thorough and meticulous. The historical narrative of the flute styles and its protagonists is comprehensive, consistent and most importantly, respectful of the music’s tradition and filled with palpable affection. Her improvisation transcriptions and music samples from a wide selection of recordings (most of them commercially released) are accurate and accessible. . . .Sue Miller has created a work that celebrates and guarantees the perpetuation of Charanga and its Cuban Flute Style Tradition for many generations to come. Its historical, cultural, and pedagogical value cannot be overstated.’ (ARSC Journal)

‘Activating Improvisational Creativity in the Performance of “World” and “Popular” music’ has a new review in the Journal of Music, Technology & Education

Sue Miller’s chapter on improvisation in university music education has a review in the Journal of Music, Technology & Education:
‘As in Part 2, the arrangement of chapters in Part 3, Experiments in Teaching, brings out their thematic connections. Improvisation, composition and the experience of diverse musical cultures are prominent in this section. Sue Miller describes using her practice-led research in Latin improvisational styles to inform research-led teaching (Chapter 6, ‘Activating improvisational creativity in the performance of “World” and “Popular” music’). She argues for the positioning of improvisation at the centre of musical education, and against the cultural imperialism of most university music curricula.

New Review in the British Journal of Music Education

Sue Miller provides an intricately argued call for the study of both theoretical and practical improvisation to take centre-stage in higher music education (Chapter 6), a point pursued by Esmée Olthuis, who posits that improvisation can foster musical leadership and critical skills of self-reflection.

Review in Ethnomusicology Forum Journal

Sue Miller’s monograph on Cuban flute style will be of interest to ethnomusicologists and flautists alike. It is a clearly written, highly musical book that serves as both a guide to performance practice and an academic text. Miller brings together performance as a research technique, interviews with musicians, lessons with renowned flautists, and detailed and extensive transcription and analysis of recordings to create a ‘musical archaeology’ (246) of creative processes, interpretation and improvisation in Cuban charanga flute performance.

Latin Improvisation Aesthetics in New York: SEM Panel Presentation

Sue’s panel at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual conference in Texas Austin takes place on 3 December at 4pm. Also on the panel are renowned scholars of Latin American music Professor David Garcia (University of North Carolina) and Dr Ben Lapidus (CUNY).
Panel Abstract: ‘Clave feel’ is often cited as one of the main elements of Afro-Cuban/salsa improvisation yet very little to date has been done to demonstrate this concept analytically. Building on research in this area by Christopher Washburne, Peter Manuel, David Garcia, Robin Moore, Lise Waxer, and Robert Farris Thompson, scholars of Latin improvisation consider how clave remains a point of tradition, pride, and practice for many performers of Afrocuban music in New York City. Brass, woodwind and piano clave-based improvisation styles are examined to demonstrate how clave feel can define both the artistry and identity of performers. Ethnographic research informs the musical analyses of solo improvisations from both recordings and live performances to demonstrate how clave sensibility permeates the artistic work of New York-based Latin soloists.

Music Symposium in Helsinki, 20-21 November, 2015

Sue will be presenting a paper ‘Getting into Bed with the Cultural Theorists’ at the NIMiMS conference to demonstrate how the detailed analysis of sound connects directly to cultural aspects of the music and to advocate closer working partnerships with scholars in musicology and cultural studies.The aim of the symposium is to bridge gaps and create positive dialogue between different approaches within music studies. The symposium is focused on two questions.
[1] How can music analysis and cultural studies benefit from each other?
[2] How can music theory and musical practice benefit from each other?
Organizing parties: NIMiMS, Musicology at the Helsinki University Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory, and the Finnish Music Archive JAPA.

New Publication for 2015: Chapter on Improvisation in Higher Education

“This book treats with freshness and vitality issues that are crucial for educators in higher education and beyond. The international and multi-disciplinary group of scholars – anthropologists, psychologists, musicians, artists and art educators – engage us in deeply educational issues and experiences…Enthusiastically recommended!” – Liora Bresler, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, University of Illinois, USA

New Review of Cuban Flute Style by John Robert Brown in Jazz Journal

Cuban Flute Style is thus a contextualised, analytical study, arising from a combination of Miller’s lessons from Egües, her research in Havana and New York, her subsequent experiences as a charanga bandleader, and the completion of a Leeds University PhD undertaken to study the processes involved in learning the charanga style of improvisation.

BfE and AAWM Conference in London on 1-4 July

My paper is on 2 July:

Title: Analyzing Clave feel within melodic-rhythmic ‘mambo’ improvisation

Abstract:

‘Clave feel’ is often cited as one of the main elements of Cuban and salsa improvisation yet very little to date has been done to demonstrate this concept analytically whether using notation- or purely text-based analysis. The mambo-style solos of flautist José Fajardo are analysed here in order to demonstrate this clave concept using annotated transcriptions of recorded solos to demonstrate the relationship between the two-bar timeline of clave and melodic-rhythmic improvisation characteristic of Cuban and Latin popular styles.