Although it is still too early to draw any conclusions, there were a number of significant observations made that will be discussed in brief.
Consistency of GesturesData from the lastest set of trials confirms earlier results that indicated a clarinettists' ancillary gestures are consistent across his or her performance. Additionally, it seems that ancillary gestures are an integral part of musical performance.
Gesture and Sense of TimeOne interesting observation was that there were noticible differences in the length of a performance when a performer was asked to play immobilized as when compared to his or her normal playing style. For example, for the majority of players, the immobilzed performances were faster (both in total duration and individual phrases lengths) than their standard and expressive counterparts. This held true for all but one player, whose immobilized performances were consistently slower.
When comparing normal performances with those of exaggerated emotion, no consistent differences in duration could be found (for all performers). This seems to indicate that the presence of gesture (or absence thereof) has an impact on a performer's sense of time (for example, the tapping of one's foot to keep rhythm) and is one area that additional trials could further quantify.
Gesture and Note-GroupingsA relationship between a performer's ancillary gestures and note-groupings is indicated by this research. Performers exhibited a tendency to "group" by equal-duration note clusters, or by phrasing. In the first case, this means that performers' movements were "characterized by regular and consistent movements that coincided with rhythmic structures suggested by the score." The other dominant trend was to group according to the phrasing. In this instance, players were generally quite still until the end of the phrase, at which time a flourish or "finishing gesture" was made. This served to punctuate the end of the phrase.
Grouping Performers based on Dominant GesturesThe dominant body regions that a performer tended to move while playing served well as another basis for sorting players into groups. For example, certain groups of performers displayed a strong tendency to express ancillary gestures in their knees, while we found that for other groups, waist-bending gestures dominated.
Awareness and Perceptual ImpactA questionnare submitted to several of the perfomers indicated that, while they were aware of their expressive movements in general, they were not aware of the intricacies of them. The performers also mention that motion must seem natural and it should not be intentional.
Furthermore, it became apparent that it was unnatural and/or very difficult for players to completely suppress their learned movements (as was asked of them for the immobilized performances). Even during immobilized performances, each player made many of the same gestures, but on a smaller, reduced scale. One hypothesis is that these movements are so ingrained in a clarinetist's mental representation of a piece that it becomes difficult to suppress them.
Perceptual investigations into the influence of the clarinetists' movement on the experience of an observer have revealed the importance of visual information in musical performance. The gesturing of clarinetists was found to either augment or dampen the magnitude of tension experienced at important points in the performances, to convey phrasing structure throughout the music, and to cue phrase boundaries by extending beyond the sound and by beginning in anticipation of a new phrase.
These findings point to a complex interrelationship between musicians' movements, musical sound and the observing audience, where movements further convey the performer's musical intentions to observers. Future research is needed to elucidate the influence of different performance styles and quantities of movement on timing perception for the performer.
Text by Wes Hatch