Assessing the influence of constraints on cellists’ postural displacements and musical expressivity

Authors: Roze J., Aramaki M., Kronland-Martinet R., Voinier T., Bourdin C., Chadefaux D., Dufrenne M., Ystad S.
Publication Date: June 2015
Journal: Proc. of the 11th International Symposium on CMMR (pp 40-55, Plymouth, UK, June 16-19, 2015)

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This article presents the preliminary results from an exper- iment investigating the influence of cellists’ ancillary gestures on their musical expressivity. Seven professional cellists were asked to play a score while their movements were recorded by a force platform (on which they were seated) and a 3D motion capture system for joint kinematics. Specific torso and head contributions to their global postural displace- ments were analyzed through the use of 4 playing conditions: (a) one normal condition without any constraints, (b) one mentally static con- dition where the cellists were asked to keep their posture as static as possible, (c) one physically semi-constrained condition where the cel- lists’ torso was attached to the back of a chair by a safety race harness, and (d) one physically fully constrained condition where the cellists wore a neck collar in addition to the race harness to limit their head move- ments. We here investigate the influence of these constraints on global postural features computed from the force platform data, and on funda- mental acoustical features linked to musical expressivity for one cellist. The first results reveal that the cellists’ immobilization conditions give rise to di↵erent postural adaptation strategies depending on the torso- head coupling, and alter significantly the expressive intentions through changes in rhythm, dynamics and timbre of the produced sounds.