Performing to a Score, Performing to Score

This month’s ABC Limelight Magazine (August 2010) has a discussion of performing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. I am interested in the parallels between interpreting a musical composition and realising a game plan in sport.

Jo Litson’s article in Limelight explores the different tempos used in playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Richard Tognetti is quoted in the article as saying “the weird thing is that it’s now an accepted practice to play it at a much , much slower tempo than what Beethoven wrote”.

Richard Tognetti has an annotated score of the Symphony from 1817. This score has the composer’s metronome markings. Richard Tognetti observes that “the markings are really, really, really specific and we know Beethoven was adamant that they were to be adhered to. He famously said his Ninth Symphony worked so well in Berlin, I think it was, because they played it at the metronome marking”.

Jo Litson reports that a 1945 recording of the Fifth Symphony “zips by in just 26 minutes and 45 seconds”. Recordings in 1959 and 1969 by a different conductor “run to an expansive 40 minutes”.

It seems to me that game plans have similar issues. Coaches and players spend a great deal of time practicing (rehearsing) and developing tempos. Unlike an orchestra where there is no immediate direct competition, game playing necessitates the negotiation of tempo. Dominant teams with on-field leaders (orchestra leaders) appear able to set (sometimes re-set) the tempo at which the game is played. This seems true of race plans in individual sports too.

A musical score and a game plan offer opportunities for interpretation as well as application. Conductors and coaches personalise both sets of opportunities. Listening to a performance of a symphony or watching a game played in a particular way give us moments of recognition that affirm and question our love of music and sport. They create comfort and unease.

I found it informative to read in Jo Litson’s article that:

The Fifth had its premier in Vienna in December 1808 as part of a four -hour concert directed by Beethoven himself … it was not the most auspicious beginning. The makeshift orchestra had only one rehearsal and didn’t play well. Also, the hall was bitterley cold, so by the time it got to the Fifth in the second act, the exhausted audience was too frozen to take much notice. There was critical response.

I think these are experiences that many coaches will recognise. It took almost two years for the Fifth Symphony to receive critical acclaim. It is now “the most famous opening in all classical music“.

This month’s ABC Limelight Magazine provides further links for me in my exploration of performance. Performing to a score and performing to score have great synergies.

Photo Credits

Carl Davis

Coaching

Play and Display

Two items this week have prompted me to think again about Gregory P. Stone’s distinction between play and display (American Sports: Play and Dis-Play, in Eric Larrabee and Rolf Meyersohn (eds.), Mass Leisure. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1958. See too his discussion of wrestling, 1971).

The ABC reported that “Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade says he would not be surprised if AFL opponents were eavesdropping on his match-day coaching instructions.” The report notes that “While other clubs use more secure digital communications system that are encrypted, the Bulldogs have a cheaper analogue system, which Eade said needed upgrading.” Rodney Eade is quoted on the subject of technological vulnerability:

You know that it goes on, so I think as a club and organisation we’ve got to now work ways that it can’t be listened into. On grand final day, you’d hate to think it would cost you a game when a move was predicated and actually didn’t give you the advantage you hoped.

In a second report, the ABC noted that “New Zealand-born photographer Scott Barbour has been banned by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) from covering the All Blacks’ Bledisloe Cup build-up after he deliberately exposed the team’s game plan.” His image “of coach Graham Henry holding the team’s tactical move was reproduced in Australian media outlets.” The NZ Herald analysed the moves in detail.

The ABC report suggests that “All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen described Barbour’s actions as a “breach of trust”, saying he broke an “unwritten rule” by photographing the blueprint displaying moves from lineouts and scrums.” A TVNZ post quotes Steve Hanson: “With any breach of trust you take your time and talk about it. It’s not the end of the world. We will deal with that in our own way.”

Reading both these reports I wondered how these experiences help us clarify:

  • What constitutes fair play?
  • What role should (any) technology play in sport?
  • How skilful can we be in he art of off-field disclosure?
  • What role on-field deception should play?
  • Will the call for fairness off the field be reciprocated on the field of play?

Photo Credits

Listening to Podcasts on a Mobile Phone

Photographing the Photographer

#HPRW10 Sharing

I have been thinking about a framework for my panel contribution at Day Three of #HPRW10.The topic for the panel to address is How do we make the research effort into high performance sport more effective?

The abstract I submitted was:

There is a wonderful momentum growing around the aggregation of effort in many aspects of social and professional life. Following on from my presentation at the NESC Forum 2009 I am going to propose that a connected network of practice is essential for sport to flourish in Australia. This connected network will be open and through aggregation will ensure that we grow a research culture that has a cumulative approach to knowledge production. For this to be really effective it will require many institutions to transform their Internet presence. I will suggest there is no wealth but life.

The resources I have looked at to develop my thoughts are:

Around the World in Eighty Seconds

(London – Cairo – Mumbai – Hong Kong – Tokyo – San Francisco – New York – London)

Social Media 2

I was struck by a recent post by Seth Godin in which he argued that:

The challenge of our time may be to build organizations and platforms that  engage and coordinate the elites, wherever they are. After all, this is where change and productivity come from.
Once you identify this as your mission, you save a lot of time and frustration in your outreach. If someone doesn’t choose to be part of the elites, it’s unclear to me that you can persuade them to change their mind. On the other hand, the cycle of discovery and engagement the elites have started is going to accelerate over time, and you have all the tools necessary to be part of it – to lead it, in fact. (Original emphasis.)

I looked at a link I received to Virtual Research Networks

and pondered the possibilities of Web 3.0. Whilst doing so I found Kate Ray’s link to a discussion of the Semantic Web (link).

Which led me to this Flickr phtograph of Tim Berners-Lee.

I followed up his Linked Data Presentation just as I received an invitation to a webinar about the Semantic Enterprise. The trail for the webinar identified Four Pillars of the Advanced Computing Enterprise

  • Data management
  • Process management
  • Access management
  • Resource management

The value proposition from the trail was that semantics help adapt and unify databases, web services and service oriented architectures (SOA), mobile devices, and cloud computing.

From other feeds I have been contemplating social media and connectedness.

Social Media: Twitter

Social Media: Facebook

Changes to Facebook’s privacy settings have been creating some very strong responses. Recent examples include Jason Calcanis’s post (12 May) and a New York Times article (11 May).

(Postscript After finishing this post I came across Mark Pesce’s article for the ABC’s  Drum Unleashed Social networks and the end of privacy. I include it here as an important contribution to the discussion of privacy. See too Stephen Downes’ (18 May) detailed special report Facebook and Privacy. Scholarly Kitchen has compiled some resources on this topic too.)

Meanwhile a colleague had shared with me a paper by James E. Powell, Linn Marks Collins, and Mark L.B. Martinez (2009), in which they observe:

We believe that high quality custom collections of content from digital libraries, and the ability to explore it, can be critically important to decision makers and first responders dealing with crises.  These collections become even more valuable when offered with tools enabled by semantic technologies.  These tools can facilitate visual and task-based exploration of the collection, and provide Web 2.0 collaboration capabilities such as sharing, commenting, rating, and tagging, which are typical of online journal clubs.

Their work set me off on an open access track that took me to Sesame (an open source Java framework for storing, querying and reasoning with RDF and RDF Schema).

Thereafter, I pursued:

The Fierce Urgency of Now, in which it is proposed that:

proactive information retrieval tools can play a significant role in information seeking for users in some situations, in particular those where it is important to quickly get a sense of what information might be available about a particular topic. This may be particularly true if a user is focused on a task that benefits from information, but is not itself an information-seeking task. Additionally, the urgency of a particular task may also make it a requirement that the user be made aware of information, rather than be forced to search for it.

I followed a steer from the authors of that paper and found Michael Twidale et al. (2007) Writing in the library: Exploring tighter integration of digital library use with the writing process. They argue that:

Information provision via digital libraries often separates the writing process from that of information searching. In this paper we investigate the potential of a tighter integration between searching for information in digital libraries and using those results in academic writing. We consider whether it may sometimes be advantageous to encourage searching while writing instead of the more conventional approach of searching first and then writing. The provision of ambient search is explored, taking the user’s ongoing writing as a source for the generation of search terms used to provide possibly useful results. A rapid prototyping approach exploiting web services was used as a way to explore the design space and to have working demonstrations that can provoke reactions, design suggestions and discussions about desirable functionalities and interfaces. This design process and some preliminary user studies are described. The results of these studies lead to a consideration of issues arising in exploring this design space, including handling irrelevant results and the particular challenges of evaluation.

Whilst reading that paper on-line I received a tweet from Radio National about its Future Tense program on the digital classroom in Australia. I ended my day enjoying a blog from one of the people in that program, Helen Otway, Assistant Principal for ICT and Student Learning at Manor Lakes P-12 Specialist College.

Just as I was closing my computer I received a link to a YouTube video (two million views in a week) from a Listserv that ilustrated the excitement and dynamism available to us as we connect as researchers and coaches.

Photo Credits

Phone-wire tangle

Linked Data