Atelier du 20 mai 1997
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"Cognitive bases of music performance"

présenté par Caroline Palmer, Université de l'Etat de l'Ohio, USA

Mardi 20 mai de 9 h 30 à 12 h
IRCAM, Salle Stravinsky,
1 place Stravinsky, 75004 Paris


A. Musical communication and theories of the stimulus

Is the stimulus for music perception an abstract from of a musical piece, or a particular performance of it? As with language, music reflects a communication of structure among its users (composers, performers, and listeners), which suggests the existence of some shared musical knowledge. Music performance may be an indispensable source of evidence for theories of that shared knowledge, because the particular expression given in each performance guides our musical understanding. Different sources of knowledge in music performance that contribute to a theory of the stimulus for perception will be described, based on evidence from expressive nuances of performance. Correlates exist in music perception and in other production domains, such as speech.

B. Temporal constraints on the planning and performance of musical sequences: It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing...

The performance of complex, temporally structured behaviors such as music embodies two problems: the serial order of sequence elements, and their relative timing. Musical sequences that are well-formed in their serial order are often not understandable unless additional constraints hold on the relative timing of the individual elements. In addition, music performed without accurate temporal control is considered deficient because it lacks the property of rhythm. I will describe studies of skilled and novice piano performances that address how relative timing and rhythm constrain the planning and production of musical sequences. Evidence from production errors indicates temporal constraints on the range of mental planning, and evidence from expressive timing reflects conceptual constraints on performance. Both types of constraints are influenced by musical interpretation: Performers' interpretations of structural content affect the expressiveness, accuracy, and precision of performance.