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Tuesday, July 9 • 11:10 - 11:30
THE EFFECT OF ATTENTIONAL FOCUS ON GESTURE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF SOUND AT THE PIANO

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While focus of attention (FOA) has been widely studied in athletic pursuits, it has not been in the performing arts. The purpose of this project was to determine the effects of FOA on kinematic and musical performance while pianists performed Bartók's second dance from Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56. Nine pianists participated in the study and prepared the piece. The pianists played the piece 4 times, starting with a baseline (B) performance without any instruction, and 3 subsequent randomized times focusing on 1) creating the idea of a dance (E: external focus), 2) his/her fingertips and creating a staccato (short) touch (I: internal focus), and 3) the beat of a metronome (M). To better understand the initial effect of each condition, the first note of each right-hand trial was analyzed. Using MIDI and motion capture data, musical and kinematic performance were analyzed. We observed significant differences among conditions for onset velocity (F (3, 24) = 4.23, p = 0.0155), and marginal significance for note duration (F (3, 24) = 2.61, p = 0.0748). Post hoc comparisons showed that internal focus yielded greater onset velocity and shorter note duration than B or E. There were no differences in kinematics as defined by the hand movement prior to the first note, but it is likely that differences will be observed at the finger and/or trunk level. It was hypothesized that movements might be smallest in the internal condition and most robust in the external condition. Initial results of motion capture data indicate that each focus condition had a constraining effect on pianists' movements, although several movement strategies are apparent. These results indicate both the effect of focus but also important individual constraints in approach with potential pedagogical, performance, and rehabilitative implications.

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avatar for Caroline Traube

Caroline Traube

Associate professor, University of Montreal

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Tuesday July 9, 2019 11:10 - 11:30 EDT
Outremont 7
  T14 Musical acoustic, SS03 Biomech cntrl of music instrum