Wednesday, October 4, 2017

OSCAR Student Simone Hawkins and the Peter Ritter Transcription Project

I first became interested in the field of musicology and research while studying at NVCC Alexandria and would especially like to thank Professor John Kocur for his support and inspiration throughout my discovery of and consequent passion for music history, and neglected and virtually unknown/forgotten composers. As a transfer student to the B.A. Music program at George Mason University, I have been able to further my experience and skill in music research. Namely, my private study’s in period performance [practice] violin with June Huang has enabled me to increase my expertise in working with manuscripts (facsimiles) and being able to interpret music in a style appropriate to the composer’s intention. These experiences and the knowledge I gained from them helped prepare me for the extent of the research involved in the Peter Ritter project.

As opposed to doing research for my own personal interests, having the opportunity to do so in an academic setting as an undergraduate student is what immediately drew me to the Peter Ritter research project. And because music research is what I want to do after my undergraduate studies, being a part of this OSCAR summer group has given me hands-on experience in this field. This summer, I actually did something that I had not done before – I learned how to use the records at the Library of Congress and was therefore able to handle the physical manuscripts of some of Ritter’s music, which I later transcribed. Seeing the composer’s handwriting in person and turning the pages of the manuscripts made the research all the more exciting! All of my previous studies utilized online resources and databases, but I find that using the original music is more interesting and engaging because not only can you see markings and errors, which may not be visible in facsimile editions, but it also provides you the rare experience of working with primary sources.