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Conductor gestures influence evaluations of ensemble performance.

Morrison SJ, Price HE, Smedley EM, Meals CD - Front Psychol (2014)

Bottom Line: Previous research has found that listener evaluations of ensemble performances vary depending on the expressivity of the conductor's gestures, even when performances are otherwise identical.Results showed significantly higher evaluations for performances featuring high rather than low conducting expressivity regardless of the ensemble's performance quality.Evaluations for both articulation and dynamics were strongly and positively correlated with evaluations of overall ensemble expressivity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory for Music Cognition, Culture and Learning, School of Music, University of Washington Seattle, WA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Previous research has found that listener evaluations of ensemble performances vary depending on the expressivity of the conductor's gestures, even when performances are otherwise identical. It was the purpose of the present study to test whether this effect of visual information was evident in the evaluation of specific aspects of ensemble performance: articulation and dynamics. We constructed a set of 32 music performances that combined auditory and visual information and were designed to feature a high degree of contrast along one of two target characteristics: articulation and dynamics. We paired each of four music excerpts recorded by a chamber ensemble in both a high- and low-contrast condition with video of four conductors demonstrating high- and low-contrast gesture specifically appropriate to either articulation or dynamics. Using one of two equivalent test forms, college music majors and non-majors (N = 285) viewed sixteen 30 s performances and evaluated the quality of the ensemble's articulation, dynamics, technique, and tempo along with overall expressivity. Results showed significantly higher evaluations for performances featuring high rather than low conducting expressivity regardless of the ensemble's performance quality. Evaluations for both articulation and dynamics were strongly and positively correlated with evaluations of overall ensemble expressivity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Sample waveform for high- (upper) and low-contrast (lower) articulation performance.
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Figure 1: Sample waveform for high- (upper) and low-contrast (lower) articulation performance.

Mentions: One of the researchers arranged, rehearsed, and recorded each of the four excerpts, creating one high (E+) and one low (E-) expression version, yielding a total of eight different performances. For each pair (E+, E-), the conductor utilized a metronome and headset to ensure tempo consistency. During the recording process, performers were instructed to maximize or minimize variance of the target characteristic (articulations or dynamics) and perform all other variables as similarly as possible. In other words, excerpts focusing on articulation were performed at a consistent dynamic level and excerpts focusing on dynamics were performed with consistent articulation throughout. For the low-expression/neutral (E-) condition, we instructed the performers not to vary articulation values, dynamics, or any other expressive elements. Visual waveform analysis performed on each excerpt through the Audacity audio editor (sourceforge.net) showed distinct contrast between performance conditions along the target characteristics (Figure 1). Additionally, the researchers (all university music faculty members or graduate music instructors) reviewed the audio segments and agreed that there were clear contrasts between performance conditions and that tempo was consistent across each excerpt pair.


Conductor gestures influence evaluations of ensemble performance.

Morrison SJ, Price HE, Smedley EM, Meals CD - Front Psychol (2014)

Sample waveform for high- (upper) and low-contrast (lower) articulation performance.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4109431&req=5

Figure 1: Sample waveform for high- (upper) and low-contrast (lower) articulation performance.
Mentions: One of the researchers arranged, rehearsed, and recorded each of the four excerpts, creating one high (E+) and one low (E-) expression version, yielding a total of eight different performances. For each pair (E+, E-), the conductor utilized a metronome and headset to ensure tempo consistency. During the recording process, performers were instructed to maximize or minimize variance of the target characteristic (articulations or dynamics) and perform all other variables as similarly as possible. In other words, excerpts focusing on articulation were performed at a consistent dynamic level and excerpts focusing on dynamics were performed with consistent articulation throughout. For the low-expression/neutral (E-) condition, we instructed the performers not to vary articulation values, dynamics, or any other expressive elements. Visual waveform analysis performed on each excerpt through the Audacity audio editor (sourceforge.net) showed distinct contrast between performance conditions along the target characteristics (Figure 1). Additionally, the researchers (all university music faculty members or graduate music instructors) reviewed the audio segments and agreed that there were clear contrasts between performance conditions and that tempo was consistent across each excerpt pair.

Bottom Line: Previous research has found that listener evaluations of ensemble performances vary depending on the expressivity of the conductor's gestures, even when performances are otherwise identical.Results showed significantly higher evaluations for performances featuring high rather than low conducting expressivity regardless of the ensemble's performance quality.Evaluations for both articulation and dynamics were strongly and positively correlated with evaluations of overall ensemble expressivity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Laboratory for Music Cognition, Culture and Learning, School of Music, University of Washington Seattle, WA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Previous research has found that listener evaluations of ensemble performances vary depending on the expressivity of the conductor's gestures, even when performances are otherwise identical. It was the purpose of the present study to test whether this effect of visual information was evident in the evaluation of specific aspects of ensemble performance: articulation and dynamics. We constructed a set of 32 music performances that combined auditory and visual information and were designed to feature a high degree of contrast along one of two target characteristics: articulation and dynamics. We paired each of four music excerpts recorded by a chamber ensemble in both a high- and low-contrast condition with video of four conductors demonstrating high- and low-contrast gesture specifically appropriate to either articulation or dynamics. Using one of two equivalent test forms, college music majors and non-majors (N = 285) viewed sixteen 30 s performances and evaluated the quality of the ensemble's articulation, dynamics, technique, and tempo along with overall expressivity. Results showed significantly higher evaluations for performances featuring high rather than low conducting expressivity regardless of the ensemble's performance quality. Evaluations for both articulation and dynamics were strongly and positively correlated with evaluations of overall ensemble expressivity.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus