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Unraveling mysteries of personal performance style; biomechanics of left-hand position changes (shifting) in violin performance.

Visentin P, Li S, Tardif G, Shan G - PeerJ (2015)

Bottom Line: Results based on 540 shifting samples, a case series of 6 professional-level violinists, showed that some elements of the skill were individualized in surprising ways while others were explainable by anthropometry, ergonomics and entrainment.Remarkably, results demonstrated each violinist to have developed an individualized pacing for shifts, a feature that should influence timing effects and prove foundational to aesthetic outcomes during performance.Such results underpin the potential for scientific methodologies to unravel mysteries of performance that are associated with a performer's personal artistic style.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Music, University of Lethbridge , Lethbridge, Alberta , Canada.

ABSTRACT
Instrumental music performance ranks among the most complex of learned human behaviors, requiring development of highly nuanced powers of sensory and neural discrimination, intricate motor skills, and adaptive abilities in a temporal activity. Teaching, learning and performing on the violin generally occur within musico-cultural parameters most often transmitted through aural traditions that include both verbal instruction and performance modeling. In most parts of the world, violin is taught in a manner virtually indistinguishable from that used 200 years ago. The current study uses methods from movement science to examine the "how" and "what" of left-hand position changes (shifting), a movement skill essential during violin performance. In doing so, it begins a discussion of artistic individualization in terms of anthropometry, the performer-instrument interface, and the strategic use of motor behaviors. Results based on 540 shifting samples, a case series of 6 professional-level violinists, showed that some elements of the skill were individualized in surprising ways while others were explainable by anthropometry, ergonomics and entrainment. Remarkably, results demonstrated each violinist to have developed an individualized pacing for shifts, a feature that should influence timing effects and prove foundational to aesthetic outcomes during performance. Such results underpin the potential for scientific methodologies to unravel mysteries of performance that are associated with a performer's personal artistic style.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Pitch possibilities of the piano and the violin compared (figure created by the authors).
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fig-1: Pitch possibilities of the piano and the violin compared (figure created by the authors).

Mentions: Without shifting, only 29 different pitches of the western music scale are possible on the violin. With shifting, not only are more pitches available but some notes can be played on multiple strings, resulting in more than 100 possible pitches of varied acoustic-spectral signatures or timbres. Thus, in artful performance shifting may be used as an expressive tool, and not merely as a utilitarian means of generating pitch frequencies. As a matter of comparison, the piano has 55 note possibilities in the same pitch range as the violin (Fig. 1).


Unraveling mysteries of personal performance style; biomechanics of left-hand position changes (shifting) in violin performance.

Visentin P, Li S, Tardif G, Shan G - PeerJ (2015)

Pitch possibilities of the piano and the violin compared (figure created by the authors).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4636401&req=5

fig-1: Pitch possibilities of the piano and the violin compared (figure created by the authors).
Mentions: Without shifting, only 29 different pitches of the western music scale are possible on the violin. With shifting, not only are more pitches available but some notes can be played on multiple strings, resulting in more than 100 possible pitches of varied acoustic-spectral signatures or timbres. Thus, in artful performance shifting may be used as an expressive tool, and not merely as a utilitarian means of generating pitch frequencies. As a matter of comparison, the piano has 55 note possibilities in the same pitch range as the violin (Fig. 1).

Bottom Line: Results based on 540 shifting samples, a case series of 6 professional-level violinists, showed that some elements of the skill were individualized in surprising ways while others were explainable by anthropometry, ergonomics and entrainment.Remarkably, results demonstrated each violinist to have developed an individualized pacing for shifts, a feature that should influence timing effects and prove foundational to aesthetic outcomes during performance.Such results underpin the potential for scientific methodologies to unravel mysteries of performance that are associated with a performer's personal artistic style.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Music, University of Lethbridge , Lethbridge, Alberta , Canada.

ABSTRACT
Instrumental music performance ranks among the most complex of learned human behaviors, requiring development of highly nuanced powers of sensory and neural discrimination, intricate motor skills, and adaptive abilities in a temporal activity. Teaching, learning and performing on the violin generally occur within musico-cultural parameters most often transmitted through aural traditions that include both verbal instruction and performance modeling. In most parts of the world, violin is taught in a manner virtually indistinguishable from that used 200 years ago. The current study uses methods from movement science to examine the "how" and "what" of left-hand position changes (shifting), a movement skill essential during violin performance. In doing so, it begins a discussion of artistic individualization in terms of anthropometry, the performer-instrument interface, and the strategic use of motor behaviors. Results based on 540 shifting samples, a case series of 6 professional-level violinists, showed that some elements of the skill were individualized in surprising ways while others were explainable by anthropometry, ergonomics and entrainment. Remarkably, results demonstrated each violinist to have developed an individualized pacing for shifts, a feature that should influence timing effects and prove foundational to aesthetic outcomes during performance. Such results underpin the potential for scientific methodologies to unravel mysteries of performance that are associated with a performer's personal artistic style.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus