Musical Performance as a Creative and Political Act: Decolonial Practices and Artistic Research

Bibiana Bragagnolo

UFMT – Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil


This presentation is part of a research project developed in Federal University of Mato Grosso (Brazil), that has two main axes. The first one is the observation and mapping of the production in artistic research in Brazil, in order to understand its characteristics and peculiarities and to stimulate the expansion of the field. The second one comprehends the application of the concept of declassification from Garcia-Gutiérrez (2007, 2020) in the musical performance, aiming to stablish a critic to the traditional musical performance epistemology and to develop new musical practices and possibilities for artistic research, more aligned with its social, cultural and temporal contexts. This presentation focus on the decolonial aspect of this declassificatory process, regarding the Brazilian context of musical performance. The European classical music tradition configures still the most usual musical practice performed and taught in universities and conservatories in the country, what has many consequences for the musical practices and also for the research in musical performance. The acritical reproduction of these pedagogical and musical tradition leads musical performance not only to be a reproductive practice (instead of a creative one), but also to remain alienated from the contemporary world. Furthermore, the lack of some critical thoughts about the musical performance tradition places the musical performance as a hegemonic and colonial practice, subtracting from the present a great variety of possibilities and generating absences, using the words of Santos (2002, 2019). In this sense, the artistic research shows itself as a powerful tool to the development of decolonial musical practices. For that, this research proposes the assumption of the concept of declassification as an epistemological approach to rethink musical performance thought artistic research. In this way, the performer acts as a critical and creative being, and the musical performance become the ideal place for experimental and non-hegemonic practices, acquiring the political status of a kind of activism. These theoretical reflections are already being applied in an artistic project, called “Assemblagem Sonora” (Sonorous Assemblage in English), where some strategies of declassification are being used to articulate and generate the artistic results.

Keywords: Artistic research, Decolonial thinking, Musical performance



Bibiana Bragagnolo is Doctor in Musicology by Federal University of Paraíba (Brazil), advised by Dr. Didier Guigue, and with some exchange period at Aveiro University, financed by CAPES and advised by Dr. Luca Chiantore. Bibiana has developed activities as pianist, mostly in the group of experimental music “Artesanato Furioso” and in the theater, and as a researcher, mainly in the fields of the insertion of performance in musical analysis and artistic research. In 2018, she received the TeMA prize in Brazil for her paper “The sonorous contrasts in Contrastes by Marisa Rezende” and in 2015 she was the soloist in the Brazilian premiere of the Concert for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra by John Cage. Since 2019 Bibiana is adjunct professor in the Arts Department of Federal University of Mato Grosso (Brazil) acting in the fields of performance, piano and musical education.