The Development of Some Empirical Approaches to Integrating the Physicality of Musical Performance with the Philosophy of Music

Cynthia M. Grund, William Westney

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning

Abstrakt

The Development of Some Empirical Approaches to Integrating the Physicality of Musical Performance with the Philosophy of Music

Cynthia M. Grund (on site)
Associate Professor, Institute for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark; Chief
Coordinator for NNIMIPA and NNIMIPA-coordinator for SDU; NordForsk Project Manager

William Westney (via video conference)
Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Piano and Browning Artist-in-Residence, School of Music, Texas
Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA; Hans Christian Andersen Guest Professorial Fellow at SDU
2009-2010; NNIMIPA delegate representing the University of Southern Denmark

In this paper we report and reflect on an in-progress empirical study of piano performance and how it is perceived. Selected as one of the charter projects funded within a groundbreaking initiative to promote transdisciplinary research at Texas Tech University in 2012, the study is specifically designed to address philosophical concerns about the interrelationship of musical meaning and
embodiment. This research is being carried out by an international team comprising a concert pianist, a philosopher (the authors and presenters of the paper here summarized), a neuroscientist and an engineer specializing in motion-capture technology.
We introduced this study at last year's London NNIMIPA meeting, and much has happened since then: Inspired by prior work on musical gesture by Godøy, Leman, Jensenius and others, the research team is pursuing the investigation of musical meaning and expression by first distilling the movements of performing instrumentalists into the movements of their avatars generated by markered motion capture technology. This remediation of their performances reduces the
movement and gesturing of the performers to something that is perceived far more clearly in terms of form than is the case in raw video recordings.
During lab sessions conducted in October 2012, each pianist in the study was asked to give two renditions of an expressive piece by Grieg (“Cowherd’s Song”) and two renditions of a crisply technical one (“Scherzo”) by Hummel. In every case the first rendition was to be played according to one specific instruction given by the researchers, and the second one according to a contrasting
instruction. This pair of instructions was identical for all performers.
The next phase of experimentation in May 2013 moved the motion capture results into an innovative context of investigation. Two groups of subjects – (1) trained classical-music performers, and (2) others who have been identified as appreciators of classical music, but without any training as instrumentalists – were placed inside an fMRI apparatus wearing noise-cancelling headphones
and positioned so as to view a computer screen. They watch and listen to the performances as reproduced on the avatar videos. A battery of questions answerable on a seven-point Likert scale was posed on the screen after each performance, and the subjects will answer these questions by simple cursor manipulation. The questions gauged degree of engagement, level of
experienced congruence between the motions of the avatars and the music produced, experienced meaningfulness of the performances, and the like.
Much base-line neuroscientific research is available regarding the location of emotional, imaginative, and pleasure-related responses within the brain. Among the main motivations for involving brain-scanning technology are thus (1) to see what effects the clearly different performance strategies give rise to in the various brain centers; and (2) to compare the stated reactions of subjects with what is revealed by these brain patterns.
Video and audio documentation of the experiments will be shown, and this is interesting in its own right. There is much data processing left to do before definitive results are available; hopefully the full research team will be able to present some of these at the NNIMIPA-CMMR meeting in Marseille in October 2013.
We hope that - ultimately - we will be provided with some clues as to the character of the physical mechanisms that underlie our attribution of meaning to music. For more background information, please see http://www.soundmusicresearch.org/TRA.htm
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato17. jul. 2013
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 17. jul. 2013
BegivenhedPre-Conference Activites in Association with the Third Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Asscociation Music and Philosophy Study Group - King’s College, London, London, Storbritannien
Varighed: 18. jul. 201318. jul. 2013

Konference

KonferencePre-Conference Activites in Association with the Third Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Asscociation Music and Philosophy Study Group
LokationKing’s College, London
LandStorbritannien
ByLondon
Periode18/07/201318/07/2013

Bibliografisk note

Page 4 of http://www.nnimipa.org//PROGRAM_LONDON_2013_A5_2.pdf

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