An Expressive Bodily Movement Repertoire for Marimba Performance, Revealed through Observers' Laban Effort-Shape Analyses, and Allied Musical Features: Two Case Studies
AuthorBroughton, MC; Davidson, JW
Source TitleFrontiers in Psychology
PublisherFRONTIERS MEDIA SA
University of Melbourne Author/sDavidson, Jane
AffiliationFine Arts and Music
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBroughton, M. C. & Davidson, J. W. (2016). An Expressive Bodily Movement Repertoire for Marimba Performance, Revealed through Observers' Laban Effort-Shape Analyses, and Allied Musical Features: Two Case Studies. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, 7 (AUG), https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01211.
Access StatusOpen Access
Musicians' expressive bodily movements can influence observers' perception of performance. Furthermore, individual differences in observers' music and motor expertise can shape how they perceive and respond to music performance. However, few studies have investigated the bodily movements that different observers of music performance perceive as expressive, in order to understand how they might relate to the music being produced, and the particular instrument type. In this paper, we focus on marimba performance through two case studies-one solo and one collaborative context. This study aims to investigate the existence of a core repertoire of marimba performance expressive bodily movements, identify key music-related features associated with the core repertoire, and explore how observers' perception of expressive bodily movements might vary according to individual differences in their music and motor expertise. Of the six professional musicians who observed and analyzed the marimba performances, three were percussionists and experienced marimba players. Following training, observers implemented the Laban effort-shape movement analysis system to analyze marimba players' bodily movements that they perceived as expressive in audio-visual recordings of performance. Observations that were agreed by all participants as being the same type of action at the same location in the performance recording were examined in each case study, then across the two studies. A small repertoire of bodily movements emerged that the observers perceived as being expressive. Movements were primarily allied to elements of the music structure, technique, and expressive interpretation, however, these elements appeared to be interactive. A type of body sway movement and more localized sound generating actions were perceived as expressive. These movements co-occurred and also appeared separately. Individual participant data revealed slightly more variety in the types and locations of actions observed, with judges revealing preferences for observing particular types of expressive bodily movements. The particular expressive bodily movements that are produced and perceived in marimba performance appear to be shaped by music-related and sound generating features, musical context, and observer music and motor expertise. With an understanding of bodily movements that are generated and perceived as expressive, embodied music performance training programs might be developed to enhance expressive performer-audience communication.
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