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In Frontiers in psychology ; h5-index 92.0

Philosophers, composers, and musicians have long argued whether instrumental music finds meaning in its formal structure and musical content (Hanslick, 1986) or through reference to extra-musical elements, like narratives, emotions, or memories (Meyer, 1956). While the use of extra-musical elements appears grounded in individual musicians' priorities for performance and teaching (Héroux, 2018), the impact of emotional indications on expressivity has not previously been studied in a large-scale experiment. The aim of this pilot study was to construct the methodology for a larger project to study the impact of the use of extra-musical elements on the sound results of guitarists. We asked guitar students to record one short newly composed piece, Evocation 1, according to the following conditions: (A) in a non-expressive manner, (B) according to the notated musical indications, and (C) with the addition of suggested contextual and emotional extra-musical elements to the musical instructions. We asked two expert guitarists to evaluate the level of expressiveness for conditions B and C and conducted interviews with participants to collect data on the experimental process to refine protocol. To more objectively measure manifestations of objectivity from the recorded performances, we extracted data from each recording about pitch, dynamics, and timing, as well as expressive dynamic deviations. The impact of both recording conditions and the expertise level of performers on the quality of this audio data led us to change the analysis design from a comparative design (with other participants) to a self-comparative design (each participant with himself) for the larger study.

Héroux Isabelle, Giraldo Sergio, Ramírez Rafael, Dubé Francis, Creech Andrea, Thouin-Poppe Louis-Édouard


audio data analysis, audio recording, creativity, expressive performance, extra musical element, guitar evaluation, methodology, music interpretation