AUTHOR: Thaís Fernandes Santos; Cristina Capparelli Gerling

ABSTRACT: Musicians project their expressive intentions through sets of physical movements geared to varying the aspects of sound deemed appropriate to the musical discourse. Considering that musical interpretation depends on the manipulation of shorter segments or groupings combined to form phrases and larger sections, the understanding of the musical structure of the work being performed in its many levels may impacts the projection of musical intentions.

Studies have analyzed the acoustic results of micro timing manipulations, particularly at phrase endings and differing levels of energy applied to the performance, given that, these parameters have been considered the main elements affecting the perception of musical phrasing. Acoustic manipulations can create ample interpretative differences even though it is nearly impossible to define rules that apply to the perceptive segmentation of a musical idea.

Recently, the physical movements of performers have merited the attention of scholars, for instance, the relationship between gestures and the organization of musical ideas. Considering the inextricability of performing an instrument and bodily gestures, as well as their role on the communication of intentions, it must be established that some gestures are essential to the sound production while others are ancillary. The term ancillary designate motions that precede and follow up the production of sound as part of the overall performing action and help define expressive intentions.

Aiming at investigating the connections between physical movements and the organization of musical segments during performance situations, we designed an experiment utilizing a system motion capture and audio with six participants from different levels of expertise ranging from the intermediate level to advanced piano students. They were instructed to perform scales and arpeggios inserted into and/or taken out of varying excerpts from the piano literature to gauge expressive intentions of each musical segment along with stylistic and expressive features as follows: 1) as a mechanical/routine exercises; 2) as part of an intermediate level Etudes (e.g., Clementi); 3) as part of an advanced level Etude (e.g., Chopin); 4) as part of well known excerpts from the piano repertoire.

It is our hypothesis that the manipulations of timing and dynamic through physical gestures generate diverse phrasing organizations as well as diverse strategies to segment and organize groupings and musical ideas carried out by sets of movements organized as ancillary and instrumental gestures (motion producing sound).

Variations in timing and dynamic can be characterized as cues that help define phrases and sections within the analyzed context. Therefore, we believe that the embodied gestures function as sensorial gauges, that is, the body projects itself in space and time expressing intended musical content.

PUBLICATION TYPE: Conference Expanded Abstract – International Symposium on Performance Science, 2019.

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