Dirk Moelants

Ghent University, Gand, Flanders, Belgium

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Publications (50)14.36 Total impact

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    Esther Coorevits, Dirk Moelants
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, there is a growing interest in studies on the relationship between music and movement. Insight in the relation between dance and music is particularly important for the Baroque period, as music and dance were directly related, even if music was not used to dance to. In Baroque dance, particular dance steps and the character of different dance types demand a specific tempo. However, in musical performance practice, the tempo variation can be very large and the link with the original dance movement is often lost. The aim of this study is to compare the interpretations of dancers and musicians in an experimental setting. The study consists of two parts. First, we investigate the influence of dance movement on the interpretation of a series of dances by musicians. The pieces were recorded with and without dance and we compare tempo and timing in the different versions. In the second part, dancers performed a particular choreography on music that varied in tempo. Video analysis and questionnaires were used to evaluate the different performances. These results were compared with the tempo of musical recordings of similar dance types. Results show a clear difference between music and dance performance. Musicians adapt their interpretation when performing together with the dancers and the optimal tempo zone found for certain Baroque dances coincides only partly with the tempi commonly found in music recordings. The direct link between music and movement and its mutual influence illustrates the importance of an embodied approach in music performance, where in this case dance movement gives concrete information for a 'historically informed' performance.
    ICMPC-APSCOM 2014 Joint Conference, Seoul, South Korea; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: This book is about the power of music, that is, the effect of music on our emotive, cognitive, motor, and social abilities. Where does this power come from? What is the basis of this power? What mechanisms support this power? Can technology enhance this power? How can we apply this in education, health, sports, and other application domains? Answering these and related questions is the central goal of the research that is currently conducted at IPEM, the institute for systematic musicology at Ghent University, Belgium. IPEM’s mission is to provide a scientific foundation for musical and technological innovation in the cultural/creative sector. With contributions of seven experts in different fields such as musicology, ergonomics, acoustics, physics, and movement science, this book reveals information that is less publicly known. The authors discuss topics as varied as basic concepts of musical embodiment, music performance, mediation technology as an extension of the body, social interaction in music, music education, health, rehabilitation and lifestyle, and fundamentals of music and movement.
    Acco Academic edited by Micheline Lesaffre and Marc Leman, 02/2013; ACCO., ISBN: 9789033488627
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    ABSTRACT: Inspired by a theory of embodied music cognition, we investigate whether music can entrain the speed of beat synchronized walking. If human walking is in synchrony with the beat and all musical stimuli have the same duration and the same tempo, then differences in walking speed can only be the result of music-induced differences in stride length, thus reflecting the vigor or physical strength of the movement. Participants walked in an open field in synchrony with the beat of 52 different musical stimuli all having a tempo of 130 beats per minute and a meter of 4 beats. The walking speed was measured as the walked distance during a time interval of 30 seconds. The results reveal that some music is 'activating' in the sense that it increases the speed, and some music is 'relaxing' in the sense that it decreases the speed, compared to the spontaneous walked speed in response to metronome stimuli. Participants are consistent in their observation of qualitative differences between the relaxing and activating musical stimuli. Using regression analysis, it was possible to set up a predictive model using only four sonic features that explain 60% of the variance. The sonic features capture variation in loudness and pitch patterns at periods of three, four and six beats, suggesting that expressive patterns in music are responsible for the effect. The mechanism may be attributed to an attentional shift, a subliminal audio-motor entrainment mechanism, or an arousal effect, but further study is needed to figure this out. Overall, the study supports the hypothesis that recurrent patterns of fluctuation affecting the binary meter strength of the music may entrain the vigor of the movement. The study opens up new perspectives for understanding the relationship between entrainment and expressiveness, with the possibility to develop applications that can be used in domains such as sports and physical rehabilitation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e67932. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study aims to gain better insight into the connection between music and dance by examining the dynamic effects of the bass drum on a dancing audience in a club-like environment. One hundred adult participants moved freely in groups of five to a musical sequence that comprised six songs. Each song consisted of one section that was repeated three times, each time with a different sound pressure level of the bass drum. Hip and head movements were recorded using motion capture and motion sensing. The study demonstrates that people modify their bodily behavior according to the dynamic level of the bass drum when moving to contemporary dance music in a social context. Participants moved more actively and displayed a higher degree of tempo entrainment as the sound pressure level of the bass drum increased. These results indicate that the prominence of the bass drum in contemporary dance music serves not merely as a stylistic element; indeed, it has a strong influence on dancing itself.
    Music Perception 01/2013; 30(4):349-359. · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper contributes to the development of a multimodal, musical tool that extends the natural action range of the human body to communicate expressiveness into the virtual music domain. The core of this musical tool consists of a low cost, highly functional computational model developed upon the Max/MSP platform that (1)captures real-time movement of the human body into a 3D coordinate system on the basis of the orientation output of any type of inertial sensor system that is OSC-compatible, (2)extract low-level movement features that specify the amount of contraction/expansion as a measure of how a subject uses the surrounding space, (3)recognizes these movement features as being expressive gestures, and (4)creates a mapping trajectory between these expressive gestures and the sound synthesis process of adding harmonic related voices on an in origin monophonic voice. The concern for a user-oriented and intuitive mapping strategy was thereby of central importance. This was achieved by conducting an empirical experiment based on theoretical concepts from the embodied music cognition paradigm. Based on empirical evidence, this paper proposes a mapping trajectory that facilitates the interaction between a musician and his instrument, the artistic collaboration between (multimedia) artists and the communication of expressiveness in a social, musical context. Multimodal interface-Mapping-Inertial sensing technique-Usability testing
    Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces 04/2012; 3(1):67-78. · 0.83 Impact Factor
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    Leen De Bruyn, Dirk Moelants, Marc Leman
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    ABSTRACT: We present an empirical and qualitative study testing musical empathic ability in participants with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Four experiments requiring an increasing level of empathy with music, from synchronization, and attuning to emotional empathy, were carried out, using kinematic devices for measuring embodied listening responses and a verbal emotion attribution task. Results suggest that people with ASD have a corporeal understanding of the affective features of music, since they are able to mirror structural and even affective features of the music into corporeal articulations. However, this corporeal understanding does not give them a straightforward access to the emotional content of the music. The participants with ASD seemed to rely on disembodied cognitive processes to attribute affects to music.
    Music and Medicine. 01/2012; 4(1):28-36.
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    ABSTRACT: For many people, live concerts occupy an important position in their experience of music. The interaction between audience and performers creates a special tension, which also influences the performing musicians. This paper presents a method to study how the presence of an audience influences performers. To study this influence, a concert with a singer and a viola da gamba player was recorded using audio, video and acceleration sensors (invisibly) attached to wrists and back of the performers. These data were compared to the general rehearsal, recorded in identical settings. This enabled a scientifically valid comparison, without challenging ecological validity. General rehearsal and concert performances were relatively similar, which shows that performers are able to reproduce their interpretation. However, comparison between conditions revealed some interesting differences. Tempo analysis showed that the pieces in a slower, more flexible tempo were performed slower in concert, while the faster, more dance-like tempi were performed slightly faster. Gesture analysis suggested a tendency for the singer to use more open, communicative postures during the concert, to change posture more often and take more time in the transitions. The movement analysis showed an overall increase in intensity of the hand movements of the singer. In summary, we may conclude that the different methods of analysis demonstrated an intensification of the performance while interacting with the audience.
    Journal of New Music Research 01/2012; 41(1):67-78. · 0.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The concepts of mediality and embodied music cognition are relevant theories to improve the efficiency of the design of technologically enhanced performance environments. This paper discusses (i) relevant theories that may be applicable for the analysis of gestures in professional operatic singing performances, and (ii) the resulting gestural mappings that might then be used for building a vocal augmentation tool. A methodology is presented integrating narrative analysis and iterative prototyping, based on gestural and performance data. Implementation of these theories should improve the efficiency and design of vocal augmentation in theatrical contexts; increasing generalizability, dramatic integration, and facilitating a more cohesive, contextualized performance. The present study demonstrates the potential application of the theories of mediality and embodied music cognition in the development of technological mediators, as well as possible dynamic mappings strategies based on gesture audio interaction and the physical realization of the performer's musical goals.
    Journal of New Music Research 01/2012; 41(1):121-136. · 0.45 Impact Factor
  • International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology - INT J PED OTORHINOLARYNGOL. 01/2011; 75:77-77.
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    ABSTRACT: Background in Music Performance. Previous research proposes a relationship between respiration and the communicative processes of dramatic expression in operatic singing. Controlled respiration is an essential component in operatic singing, providing the singer with support for a proper production of tone and an important factor in the structuring of melodic phrases. Respiratory regulation relates directly to the effective execution of expressive components of singing performance, including timbral variations, paralinguistic features, and expressive markings such as dynamic variations and messa di voce. While respiration is an automatic process controlled by the respiratory center of the nervous system, the rate, depth and rhythm of breathing can be modified unconsciously by mental emotions or consciously by different breathing patterns. Both processes are nonlinguistic methods with which a singer is able to communicate the expressive musical intention of a vocal composition. As such, they may be used as devices to reveal emotional subtexts and the expressive intentionality of the vocal performance. Background in Embodied Cognition in Mediation. The theoretical paradigm of embodied music cognition assists systematic musicology research in the understanding of its role in singing. Embodied involvement in music allows performers to interpret and communicate effectively the expressive intentions of a composition to the audience. Furthermore, this theoretical paradigm may provide a better understanding of the subjective experiences and cognitive processes that enrich musical performance. Aims. The aim was to develop an ecologically valid methodology relating to both conscious and unconscious respiration that could be used to examine the role of embodied cognition in dramatic and expressive vocal performance. Main Contribution. This paper presents a methodology and the preliminary implementation of an experimental framework through which the effects of respiration on dramatic expressivity may be examined. The underlying theme was to examine the role of embodied music cognition in vocal performance. Since respiration in vocal performance involves both conscious and unconscious processes, the unconscious and conscious thoughts and decisions in vocal performance were considered as factors affecting the dramatic expressivity of a vocal performance. Within this context, ecological research methods were developed and utilized to monitor vocal performance for relevant data and vocal performance analysis. Timing intervals between rehearsal and performance were reliably consistent for the three vocal compositions used in the study. Lung volumes varied significantly for 2 of the 3 vocal pieces performed, and larger variations were observed during the musical climaxes of the compositions. Intensity was higher, while lung expansion was lower for performers in concert settings. Systematic differences were found between respiration patterns in the rehearsal and concert performances. Implications. Respiration is a communicative tool between a singer and audience members. The findings of the case study showed (1) that singers had strong control over the timing of their inhalations and (2) that there were systematic differences in breath volume between the rehearsal and public performance. The findings should assist in developing a better understanding of the respiratory system when it is used for singing, with implications for vocal pedagogy and performance. Additionally, the research may support previous studies that delineated between innate and learned behaviors during singing performance. As demonstrated by Collyer (2009), different stages of our kinematic strategies may not be subject to direct conscious manipulation. Consequently, behaviors that are not directly manipulated by the singer, or that are perceived to be different from actual kinematic patterns, may lend insight into an individual's recurrent and automatic behavioral patterns within a musical performance.
    Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies. 01/2011; 5(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Access to digital music collections is nowadays facilitated by content-based methods that allow the retrieval of music on the basis of intrinsic properties of audio, in addition to advanced metadata processing. However, access to ethnic music remains problematic, as this music does not always correspond to the Western concepts that underlie the currently available content-based methods. In this paper, we examine the literature on access to ethnic music, while focusing on the reasons why the existing techniques fail or fall short of expectations and what can be done about it. The paper considers a review of the work on signals and feature extraction, on symbolic and semantic information processing, and on metadata and context tools. An overview is given of several European ethnic music archives and related ongoing research projects. Problems are highlighted and suggestions of the ways in which to improve access to ethnic music collections are given.
    Signal Processing 01/2010; 90:1008-1031. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Message from the SocialCom-09 Steering Chairs
    Proceedings of the 2009 International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering - Volume 04; 08/2009
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    Dirk Moelants, Olmo Cornelis, Marc Leman
    Proceedings of the 10th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference, ISMIR 2009, Kobe International Conference Center, Kobe, Japan, October 26-30, 2009; 01/2009
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    Dirk Moelants, Michiel Demey, Marc Leman
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a study where the effect of a delayed acoustic feedback is researched with 10 professional musicians performing four different pieces of piano music. The influence of a delayed auditory feedback on the performance is quantified using both MIDI information and the measurement of the movement of the upper body of the pianists. Four conditions were examined namely: a normal piano performance, a performance without acoustic feedback and two conditions with a delayed acoustic feedback of 300ms and 200ms respectively. The analysis of the MIDI data shows a significant increase in both the velocity of the keystrokes and the duration of the performance in the delayed conditions. An asynchrony measure of notes, notated on the same time point in the score, shows this same effect for three out of four musical pieces. We observed a large movement of the head of the performers comparable to the movement of the elbows but larger than the neck, shoulders and hip. This head movement shows a significant increase in the delayed conditions in three of the pieces played. Both for the MIDI and the movement analysis there is no difference between the normal performance and the one without any acoustic feedback. In short we can say that the role of body movement becomes more prominent in situations where an alteration in the delay of the acoustic feedback is most disturbing.
    01/2009;
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    Music Perception - MUSIC PERCEPT. 01/2009; 26(3):263-278.
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    ABSTRACT: Music offers an excellent domain in which advanced forms of non-verbal communication can be explored. The first part of this paper introduces the research concepts behind the idea of a social interactive music game, which is based on the notions of 'embodiment' and 'mediation technology'. The second part reviews the development of the 'Sync-in-Team' game, and its assessment in four different settings, including noisy ecological settings. The third part reviews the technological backbone of the game, and the fourth part discusses further developments. A user-oriented approach, based on concepts from embodied music cognition, may offer a valid contribution to the development of novel music-driven games that foster the sense for social interaction, body movement, collaboration, and competition.
    Proceedings IEEE CSE'09, 12th IEEE International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering, August 29-31, 2009, Vancouver, BC, Canada; 01/2009
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    ABSTRACT: Over the last years, embodiment has gained a lot of interest in the field of music research. Researchers began to focus on the study of body movements and gestures in relationship with music. In the study presented here, we empirically quantified the impact of social interaction on movements made by groups of subjects listening and moving to music. Both children (average age 9) and adolescents (average age 16) were tested. The methodology was based on motion capturing using wireless Wii Nintendo Remote sensors, and subsequent statistical analysis. Participants were asked to move along with the beat of the music in two conditions: Individual, without social contact, and in groups of four, encouraging social interaction. Data analysis shows that the influence of the social environment has an effect that can be measured and quantified. In general, the social context stimulates participants to move more intensively to the music. Furthermore, adolescent participants even show a significantly improved synchronization with the beat of the music in the social condition, illustrating social facilitation.
    Computer Music Modeling and Retrieval. Genesis of Meaning in Sound and Music, 5th International Symposium, CMMR 2008, Copenhagen, Denmark, May 19-23, 2008, Revised Papers; 01/2008
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    Dirk Moelants, Dirk Moelants@ugent, Be
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    ABSTRACT: Playing the first of two equally notated notes notably longer than the second, the so-called 'notes inégales', is a common practice in the performance of French baroque music. It is a means of expression and enhances the metric structure of the (dance) music. Although there is a general agreement between performers about the application of 'inequality', its exact performance is an ongoing source of debate. In an experiment 8 harpsichordists and 8 baroque violinists performed 6 melodies of French baroque gavottes in three tempo conditions 40-60-80 bpm, along with a metronome. The mean ratio of inequality was about 1.63:1. Yet, a lot of variability was found with mean ratio's of individual performers varying between 1.89 and 1.33. Another main source of variance is the metric structure, with larger inequality found at metrically important points. The base tempo also has an important influence on the performance of the 'inégalité', but it is treated in very different ways by different performers. Pitch factors have only a minor impact. Even in simple pieces individuals convey a personal expressivity through their use of 'notes inégales'. The results can be related to historical evidence (e.g. from mechanical instruments) and to the prosody of the French language.
    01/2008;
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    ABSTRACT: The movements of a guqin player and several listeners were recorded using kinematic sensors. Movement velocities were extracted to test whether listeners correlate with each other and with the player. The experiment revealed that listeners tend to mimic action events that underlay music. The findings provide evidence for the hypothesis that music perception has roots in action. The study offers a new methodology for studying the action-based component of music perception in several domains of music research.
    12/2007; 19.