Seminar - Topics in the Aesthetics of Music and Sound.
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 3:15-5 p.m. in U67
What Avatars and Brain Scans Reveal about the Effects that Intentions Can Have on the Way a Performer Plays
Cynthia M. Grund (in person), Associate Professor of Philosophy, Institute for the Study of Culture, SDU
William Westney (via Skype), Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Piano, Browning Artist-in-Residence School of Music, Texas Tech University.
Abstract: In this presentation, we expand and elaborate upon the talk entitled "Feeling and Form – An Empirical Coupling" which Cynthia gave on behalf of our joint SDU-TTU research group (see HERE) at the 4th Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Association Music and Philosophy Study Group at King’s College London on 27-28 June 2014:
Joint center analysis, a technique commonly used for posture and motion analysis in human modeling and biomechanics, turns out to be quite revealing when used on pianists in order to determine if there is a significant difference in movement when pianists are asked to play in one of two ways: focusing on correctness or on enjoyment. These precise techniques of tracking and measuring allow for classification, identification and comparison of movement patterns with regard to shape and location, thus providing "objective correlates" against which to test our subjective impressions and judgments.
Part of the process employed in joint center analysis involves capturing the motions of performing musicians by infrared camera tracking of sensors placed on relevant parts of their bodies. When these dots subsequently are connected on the resulting video, a byproduct of this analysis of a performing musician emerges: a 3D video rendering showing an animated point light “stick figure” which may be observed by simple inspection in its own right. This animated avatar is a concrete manifestation of the abstracted formal motion of the musician. This is a truly new tool in the history of methods available to us for empirical music research, allowing for the exhibition of qualities of the performing musician that previously only could be abstracted in our imagination.
fMRI technology permits us to observe the brain activity of someone watching and listening to such an avatar. In the experiment that provides the basis for this presentation, four pianists each performed the same two short pieces while fitted with sensors in a motion capture laboratory. Unaware of each other’s experimental experience, each was first asked to perform each piece as correctly as he or she could, and, the second time around, simply to enjoy playing the piece. Eight (other) subjects were then placed in an fMRI scanner – four trained musicians and four non-musicians who were identified as appreciators of classical music. Each of these eight fMRI subjects watched and listened to performances by the avatars (the performances were varied across fMRI subjects). The subjects each had to answer the same battery of questions about each performance witnessed while in the fMRI machine - questions posed so as to be answerable on a 7-point Likert scale.
One result was that the enjoyment mode was more attention-getting for the audience members than the correct mode, though primarily for musicians -- less so for non-musicians. Interestingly, this attention grabbing may take the form of “‘empathic” emotional connectedness with the musicians as the enjoyment mode tends to produce a more emotional (right hemisphere) response in them (as seen in the Parahippocampal Gyrus) , whereas the correct mode tends to activate frontal regions in the left hemisphere -- regions that might be associated with a technical "evaluation" of the performance as perceived by musicians, but not by non-musicians.
Further analysis of the data suggests that evidence is provided that is consistent with the activation of mirror neurons in the musicians, but not in the non-musicians. Musicians activate this region in both the correct and the enjoyment mode, but more so in the enjoyment mode. The activation of this region is pretty much non-existent in the non-musicians who do not know how to play the piano, but presumably could move their fingers and wave their arms in a similar but meaningless way, so there is probably some minor activation of this region in them as well.
This presentation will thus
(1) Briefly outline the details of the experimental setup.
(2) Show what motion capture analysis alone reveals about the movement characteristics of pianists when playing in varied intentional states.
(3) Present the implications that the coupling of motion capture with fMRI analysis suggests for further research on the relationship between the quality of engagement a musician manifests in performance and the reception of the performance by audience members.
(4) Discuss some of the new perspectives this experiment and ones like it can cast on the role of form in philosophical aesthetics of music
Facebook event page available HERE.
Poster available as pdf file HERE.
Audience participation via Skype is also welcome.
Humanities, Technology and Musical Practice
The Performances of Everyday Living
Introduction: The SDU research program The Performances of Everyday Living (PEL) based at the Institute for the Study of Culture, widens the purview of The Aesthetics of Music and Sound - Cross-disciplinary Interplay between the Humanities, Technology and Musical Practice (AMS) www.soundmusicresearch.org. The official date for the launch of PEL was January 1, 2014. Research programs of this kind are established for three years at a time, in the case of PEL 2014-2016. AMS functioned 2006–2013 as a research program devoted to investigating music primarily in terms of information and communication. AMS continues to exist, but now functions as a background milieu for PEL, where PEL moreover examines cultural, physiological/anatomic and institutional preconditions and implications of the appropriation, use – and meaning – of music. These are compared and contrasted with the corresponding preconditions and implications for the appropriation, use and meaning of art, food and physical culture/exercise. By coordinating research areas as disparate as these, we hope to provide increased understanding of central activities which invoke a participatory aesthetic in the life and experience of modern humans. These activities are constructively contrasted and compared as species of performances. The relevance of performance as an integrative perspective appropriate for this research has been clearly demonstrated within NNIMIPA: Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics (www.nnimipa.org), an SDU-based research network that has functioned in parallel with AMS since 2007.
Projects: Here is a representative selection of projects that either were in progress or under development as PEL became officially established on January 1, 2014:
Performance, Natural Movement, Exercise and Fitness
Examines connections between authentic artistic performance, musical appropriation, "natural" movement and proprioception.
Music and Meal Culture in Vollsmose
Explores "sensuality" in a Middle Eastern, Islamic perspective in compared with a Scandinavian, Lutheran one, as manifested in the food, art and music practices of the respective cultures. Methods of psychometric validation are explored and employed.
Metal Music and Culture
Why is a style of music so fixated upon themes of death, nihilism and self-destruction the preferred conduit for aesthetic self-expression for so many in this, the supposedly happiest of all areas on earth? How does its appeal relate to dark Romanticism and dissonant properties of music and imagery?
The Performative Pairing of Food and Music
Comparison and contrast of the roles food and music play as potent regulators of our moods and emotions as the latter influence our experience of meaningfulness and significance in our daily lives.
Getting Inside the Music
This project concerns itself with the investigation and development of performative, participatory and immersive techniques in music pedagogy and in the use of music in pedagogy in general.
Members: Membership in the Core and associated members work at the Institute for the Study of Culture at SDU; see here. Affiliated members come from relevant external milieux: More information about the roles played by individual group members will be made available as the site for PEL continues to be developed within the context of AMS during the spring of 2014.
1. Claudio Cifuentes Aldunate
2. Mogens Davidsen
3. Cynthia M. Grund
4. Vitus Vestergaard
5. Mikkel Snorre Wilms Boysen
6. Marianne Børch
7. Nikolaj Frydensbjerg Elf
8. Lars Ole Sauerberg
9. Roy Sellars
10. Herdis Toft
11. Andreas Lenander Ægidius
12. Matthias Bode, Assoc. Prof., Marketing and Management, SDU (Acoustic branding).
13. Kasper Hafstrøm Bøg, Kommunikatør & projektleder, Syddansk Musik og Skuespillerskole- SMKS.
14. Erik Christensen – PhD, Aalborg U 2012 (Neuroscience/music therapy).
15. Jakob Christensen Dalsgaard, Assoc. Prof, Biology, SDU.
16. Søren R. Frimodt-Møller, Asst. Prof., Dept. Of Architecture, Design, and Media Technology; Aalborg U-Esbjerg (Media, philosophy and music).
17. Helene Gjerris – Prof. & vocalist, SMKS, (Performance studies).
18. Kristoffer Jensen – Assoc. Prof., Dept. Of Architecture, Design, and Media Technology; Aalborg U-Esbjerg (IT and music). NNIMIPA Coordinator, Aalborg U-Esbjerg.
19. Christian Mosbæk Johannessen, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Language and Communication, SDU (Centre for Human Interactivity & Centre for Multimodal Communication)
20. Michael O’Boyle – Prof., Texas Tech U - TTU (fMRI/neuroscience).
21. Mika Sihvonen -Senior Researcher in The School of Information Sciences University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland. NNIMIPA Coordinator, UTA.
22. Christophe Szpajdel, logo designer, Belgium.
23. Niels Ullner – Prof. & cellist, SMKS (Performance studies).
24. William Westney – Prof., TTU. Expert piano performance.
25. James Yang – Asst. Prof., TTU. Motion capture.
Looking Ahead: Quite a few members from each category are giving seminars in the series Topics in the Aesthetics of Music and Sound throughout 2014: please see here.
Please visit us frequently here on our site to follow the development of the research program The Performances of Everyday Living.
NNIMIPA: Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics, a NordForsk network, held a satellite session - Music, Movement and the Brain - on October 14, 2013 in conjunction with The 10th International Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research (CMMR) October 15-18, 2013. themed Sound, Music and Motion. Please see http://www.nnimipa.org for details.
IF YOUR BROWSER DOES NOT SUPPORT EMBEDDING IN THE SPACE BELOW, PLEASE VIEW THE VIDEO AT http://youtu.be/U9DYVvyDA0k.
Welcome to the website for
The Aesthetics of Music and Sound (AMS)
- a research program under the aegis of the Institute for the Study of Cultureat the University of Southern Denmark, 2006-2013, and during 2014-2016 a milieu and context that frames, among other activities, the research program The Performances of Everyday Living; please see above. We hope that you will find this website both useful and informative as you navigate through the menu choices available on the tabs at the top of each page. In addition:
the goals and background of AMS are described HERE.
a printer-friendly synopsis of AMS in pdf-form is available HERE.
these networks are closely affiliated with The Aesthetics of Music and Sound. The logos are hyperlinks:
JMM: The Journal of Musicand Meaning (Funded by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities.)
Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics,Performance and Aesthetics(Supported by NORDPLUS 2007-2010; a research network under NordForskSeptember 1, 2010-August 1, 2013.)
netværk for tværvidenskabelige studier af musik og betydning/
network for cross-disciplinary studies of music and meaning
(Note on September 21, 2012: This is largely an archival site, where the rich variety of programs sponsored by NTSMB from 2001-2010 may be viewed. NTSMB was the exploratory network founded in 2001 with two years' worth start-up funding from the Danish Council for Research in the Humanities and in which JMM, NNIMIPA and the present program/site, The Aesthetics of Music and Sound, all have their origins.)
For information about addtional networks with which the research program is affiliated, please see the menu tab labeled Research Networks.
On behalf of The Aesthetics of Music and Sound,
Cynthia M Grund, Coordinator
Research Director for The Performances of Everyday Living.
Technological and Aesthetic Investigations of the Physical Movements of Pianists: Photo Essay
During week 42 2012, October 15-21, while the fall break was being observed at Danish universities, research connected with The Aesthetics of Music and Sound was being carried out across the Atlantic at Texas Tech University (TTU), Lubbock Texas. Continuing an investigatory process that began in February 2010 at the fourMs Laboratory at the University of Oslo, Cynthia M. Grund and William Westney have established a collaboration with a new research team for a motion capture pilot study at TTU.
Here is a photo essay (requires Flash) that documents the research activities that took place at TTU October 13-18, 2012.
Tip: To view the essay in full-screen mode, just click on the circled arrow in the middle of the picture and then click on the screen icon in the lower left-hand corner. To control the speed with which the slides progress, move the cursor to the lower right-hand corner when in full-screen mode. A row of five arrows appears; the slowest setting is activated when only the leftmost arrow alone is highlighted; the fastest setting is activated when all five arrows are highlighted.
For more background, on the origins of this work in the context of a meeting of NNIMIPA: Nordic Network for the Integration of Music Informatics, Performance and Aesthetics in Oslo, Norge, February 2010, please see http://www.nnimipa.org/JWG.html and http://www.nnimipa.org/CM.html. For more background on the project Technological and Aesthetic Investigations of the Physical Movements of Pianists, please see http://www.soundmusicresearch.org/TRA.html.
Institute for the
Study of Culture
(Institut for Kulturvidenskaber - IKV)
Research Director for
The Performances of
The Aesthetics of
Music and Sound
Editor and Webmaster for
Cynthia M. Grund
for ""Updates" and "News":
September 27: Seminar with Cynthia M. Grund (in person), Associate Professor of Philosophy, Institute for the Study of Culture, SDU, and William Westney (via Skype), Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Piano, Browning Artist-in-Residence School of Music, Texas Tech University: What Avatars and Brain Scans Reveal about the Effects that Intentions Can Have on the Way a Performer Plays. Thursday, October 2, 3:15 p.m. - 5 p.m. in in U67, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M. Audience participation via Skype is also welcome. Poster for the seminar available HERE. The schedule for all seminars during the semester may be found HERE.
September 19: Lunchtime Concert with Per Aage Brandt, jazz pianist,Thursday, September 25, 12 noon -1 p.m. in The Winter Garden, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M. Program HERE; poster HERE. followed by a seminar, also with
Per Aage Brandt, Professor Adj. in Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. Founder of the journal Cognitive Semiotics: What Chords Are Doing: On Tonality in Jazz Improvisation and in Tonal Music in General. From Schönberg
to Bill Evans. Thursday, September 25, 3:15 p.m. - 5 p.m. in in U67, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M. Audience participation via Skype is also welcome. Poster for the seminar available HERE. The schedule for all seminars during the semester may be found HERE.
September 14: Lunchtime Concert with Sofie KØ, alternative poprock, with August Korsgaard at the piano and Laurits Brinkmann on bass. Thursday, September 18, 12 noon -1 p.m. in The Winter Garden, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M.
The concert will be followed by a seminar with Coen Elemans, PhD, Associate Professor, Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark - The Real "All-singing, All-dancing" Thing: Sound Production and Communication in Songbirds - Thursday, September 18
8, 3:15 p.m. - 5 p.m. in in U67, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M. Audience participation via Skype is also welcome. Poster for the seminar available HERE. The schedule for all seminars during the semester may be found HERE.
September 7: Seminar with Jakob Christensen Dalsgaard, PhD, Associate Professor, Center for Sound Communication, Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark - What Did the World Sound Like to the Dinosaurs?Thursday, September 11, 3:15 p.m. - 5 p.m. in in U67, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M. Audience participation via Skype is also welcome. Poster for the seminar available HERE. The schedule for all seminars during the semester may be found HERE. . .