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COMMUNICATION CHANNELS PERFORMERS AND LISTENERS USE: A SURVEY STUDY

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Performers and listeners (or audience) communicate with each other in music performances. Many researchers that investigated musical communication focused on communication only via musical sound. Further, in many live performances (especially popular music performance) it has been observed empirically that various kinds of inter-performer, performer-listener, or inter-listener communication occur. This has been examined in previous studies, but only for specific channels. However, it is important to clarify the frequency of usage and importance of communication channels, in order to illustrate the whole process of communication in music performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore communication channels extensively. To this end, an investigation was conducted on various performers and listeners based on a communication process model. The results suggested that performers often interact with each other using mainly gaze and breathing channels, not only musical sound, and secondly body movement and facial expression. In addition, transmitted signals and received signals indicated a similar tendency. In performer-listener interaction, transmitted signals and received signals indicated a different pattern. Facial expression and body movement were highly rated, and language was important only as a received signal. It was implied that inter-audience communication rarely occurred, and, even if it exists, a listener only receives signals from other audience, but does not consciously send these signals. This study represents a first step of a broader research that will contribute to the presentation of an overview of communication in music performance.
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The inaugural International Conference on
Music Communication Science 5-7 December
2007, Sydney, Australia
http://marcs.uws.edu.au/links/ICoMusic
COMMUNICATION CHANNELS PERFORMERS
AND LISTENERS USE: A SURVEY STUDY
Satoshi Kawase
1
,
Toshie Nakamura
1
, Maria Raluca Draguna
1
, Kenji Katahira
1
, Shoko Yasuda
1
, Haruka Shoda
2
1
Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan
2
School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan
ABSTRACT
Performers and listeners (or audience) communicate with each
other in music performances. Many researchers that investigated
musical communication focused on communication only via
musical sound. Further, in many live performances (especially
popular music performance) it has been observed empirically that
various kinds of inter-performer, performer-listener, or
inter-listener communication occur. This has been examined in
previous studies, but only for specific channels. However, it is
important to clarify the frequency of usage and importance of
communication channels, in order to illustrate the whole process of
communication in music performance.
Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore communication
channels extensively. To this end, an investigation was conducted
on various performers and listeners based on a communication
process model. The results suggested that performers often interact
with each other using mainly gaze and breathing channels, not only
musical sound, and secondly body movement and facial expression.
In addition, transmitted signals and received signals indicated a
similar tendency. In performer-listener interaction, transmitted
signals and received signals indicated a different pattern. Facial
expression and body movement were highly rated, and language
was important only as a received signal. It was implied that
inter-audience communication rarely occurred, and, even if it exists,
a listener only receives signals from other audience, but does not
consciously send these signals. This study represents a first step of a
broader research that will contribute to the presentation of an
overview of communication in music performance.
1. INTRODUCTION
In music performance, performers and listeners communicate with
each other. Hargreaves et al. referred to music as “a fundamental
channel of communication”
1
. Senju et al. suggested that performers'
intention can be conveyed to listeners through musical sound
2
.
There are several models of musical communication. Kendall et al.
proposed a model that illustrates the way musical signal and related
factors are transmitted from composers to listeners via performers
3
.
Juslin suggested a model of musical communication from
performer to listener utilizing the Brunswikian lens model
4
.
Additionally, Juslin described the musical communication process
as a chain in which composers' expressive intention invoked
listeners' affective response through acoustic performance
parameters
5
. These models mainly focus on one-way
communication from a performer (or a composer) to the listeners. In
contrast with this, Hargreaves et al. proposed a reciprocal feedback
model which suggests an interactive communication between
performers and listeners
1
.
These models focus on the musical communication. However, in
music performance, non-musical information is also of high
significance. Davidson et al. pointed out that body movement is an
important cue for communication between performers and
listeners
6
. Williamon et al. suggested that gestures, body movement,
and eye contact play an important role in piano duo performance
7
.
In addition, Nakamura showed that interactants’ breathing is related
during pauses in performances
8
. Kawase et al. suggested that
performers’ face orientation is related to musical structure and
differed with the part each performer played (i.e., vocal, guitar,
etc.)
9
.
As indicated above, in musical performances, interactions among
co-performers, performers and listeners, or listeners can occur
through various communication channels. However, the following
questions have not been clarified: ‘which communication channels
do interactans frequently use?’; ‘how often are these channels
used?’; ‘what are the genre-related differences?’; ‘what is the
influence of stage positioning during performance?’. In this light,
this study aims to explore these questions and to overview the
various behaviours that occur during performance.
To explore interactants’ communication processes, we presume the
communication model consists of four elements
10
and twelve
signals (Figure 1) representing performers and audience,
inter-performer and inter-audience interactions. This model
basically follows the Shannon et al.’s schematic diagram of a
general communication system in which interactants transmit (or
encode) and receive (or decode) their message
11
.
Performer Co-performers
Listener Other listeners
Performers
Listeners
Transmitted signal
Received signal
Figure 1: Communication process model in music performance.
This model separates transmitted and received signals which
interactants regard as often-used/often-received or important.
Proceedings of ICoMCS December 2007 Page 76
The inaugural International Conference on
Music Communication Science 5-7 December
2007, Sydney, Australia
http://marcs.uws.edu.au/links/ICoMusic
2. METHOD
2.1 Participants
Participants consisted of performers and listeners. The 85
performers (29 male and 56 female), mean age = 20.2 years, had an
average of 12.1 years of performing experience. Almost all
participants were amateur performers. The instruments they play
are shown in Table 1. 149 listeners (62 male and 87 female), mean
age 19.0 years, participated.
Table 1: Performers’ parts in ensembles and their respective
number.
2.2 Procedure
Participants were required to fill out questionnaires which consisted
of items regarding communication channels employed in the
signals involved in music performance. Thus, performers rated (a)
signals they transmit to co-performers (i.e., “How often do you
transmit the following cues to co-performers and how important are
these cues?”); (b) signals they receive from co-performers (i.e.,
“How often do you receive the following cues from co-performers
and how important are they?”); (c) signals they transmit to listeners;
(d) signals they receive from listeners. They were also asked to
illustrate their stage positioning during performance. Similarly,
listeners rated signals they transmit to performers; signals they
receive from performers; signals they transmit to other listeners;
signals they receive from other listeners. Participants were given
sufficient time to complete the questionnaires.
2.3 Measures
Participants rated frequency and importance of each item on 4 point
scales from ‘never / not important at all (‘0’ in Figure 2, 3 and 4)’, to
‘very frequently / very important (‘3’ in Figure 2, 3 and 4)’. The
participants had to specify if they could not actually use/receive a
particular signal. The scales were created based on Daibo’s
categorization of communication channels
12
. We added ‘breathing
(suggested as important by Nakamura
8
)’ and ‘musical sound’. The
rated items were as follows: facial expression (FE; e.g., smile at
co-performers); gaze (G; e.g., look at co-performers); body
movement (BM; e.g., hand signals, jumping); posture (P; e.g.,
slouching); touching (T; e.g., touch co-performers); interpersonal
distance (ID); language (L); clothing (C; this item was added later,
and therefore was evaluated only by 41 performers and 125
listeners); breathing (B); musical sound (MS).
In addition, performers selected the music genre(s) they usually
perform. Participants who selected ‘pops’, ‘rock’ and ‘jazz’ and did
not select ‘classic’ were considered popular music performers, and
those who selected only ‘classic’ were considered classic music
performers. There were 28 popular music performers and 24 classic
music performers.
piano 21 guitar 8
vocal 7 trombone 6
flute 6 drums 6
trumpet 6 keyboard 5
oboe 4 clarinet 4
horn 3 violin 3
electric bass 3 saxophone 3
chorus 3 percussion 2
bassoon 2 synthesizer 2
cello 2 viola 2
harp 1 Electone 1
keyboard harmonica 1 DJ 1
tuba 1 vocal (in band) 1
bass drum 1 piccolo 1
glockenspiel 1
Participants drew simple charts which illustrated their stage
positioning for both practice sessions and live performances.
3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
All results were averaged for each purpose. Part of the results, such
as those for importance, genres, stage positioning, impossibility to
send or receive certain signals, and their corresponding statistical
analyses were omitted due to limitations of space. Only a brief
overview was presented.
3.1 Inter-performer communication
Figure 1 shows the mean score of performers’ answer. Signals that
performers transmit to co-performers and signals that performers
receive from co-performers show similar tendency for the practice
session and the live performance. This suggests that almost all
signals are received between co-performers, at least at a
consciousness level, and that performers interact with each other
using similar cues.
Figure 2: Usage frequency for performers.
The highest rated channel was musical sound. This is rather an
expected result, since it is a music performance situation.
The second-highest rated channels were gaze and breathing. Gaze
direction is used in numerous social interactions, and frequently
used to signal turn-taking
13
. It was also suggested that face
orientation relates to musical structure. In addition, it has been
demonstrated that performers’ breathing synchronizes with that of
co-performers and listeners at pauses during performance.
Regarding the highly rated breathing item, this result may be also
influenced by the existence of a very commonly used Japanese
Proceedings of ICoMCS December 2007 Page 77
The inaugural International Conference on
Music Communication Science 5-7 December
2007, Sydney, Australia
http://marcs.uws.edu.au/links/ICoMusic
idiom, iki ga au (i.e., the timing of breathing matches between
interactants in communication, which is a very important concept in
the Japanese culture). The participants may have recalled this idiom
when they were asked about the frequency of breathing usage in
their interactions with co-performers, and therefore they may have
rated breathing higher than they actually use it. The high evaluation
of the two channels mentioned above, gaze and breathing, may
reflect the inter-performer timing coordination, and performers
probably use them consciously.
In what regards body movement, our results support previous
studies which suggested that it is important for performers. Facial
expression also was highly rated.
Further, language was rated higher for practice sessions rather than
live performance (the ANOVA tests revealed significant main
effect of situation: F(1, 232) = 23.554, p < .001). Language during
practice showed similar importance as body movement and facial
expression.
Many participants rated touching and interpersonal distance as
unusable (the averaged score for two channels and four signals was
0.34). This suggests that there are some constraints in a music
performance situation. Classic music performers rated much more
channels as unusable than popular music performers. This result
specifically proves the empirically-observed fact that popular
music performers act more freely as compared to classic music
performers.
In addition, popular music performers transmit body movement
signals more frequently but use breathing less than classic music
performers during practice sessions. This might be related to the
different stage positioning (and body orientation) in the two
performance types - in the case of classical music, most performers
face one direction and have less freedom of movement, while in
popular music, almost all performers practice facing each other.
3.2 Performer - listener communication
Figure 3 shows the mean scores for the frequency of performers’
and listeners’ answers about performer-listener interaction.
Most transmitted signal from performer to listeners was the musical
sound. This result is to be expected in a music performance
situation.
The second-highest rated channel performers use was facial
expression. This result implies that performers transmit affective
emotion through facial expression. Additionally, performers also
selected clothing and body movement, this possibly reflecting the
performers’ social ‘role’ (e.g., formal/colorful dress, or showy
performance).
Frequency of the gaze channel was relatively lower than that of
facial expression and body movement, unlike inter-performer
communication. This implies that performers mainly use channels
related to temporal coordination in the inter-performer
communication, but use channels related to affect in their
interaction with the listeners.
Figure 3: Frequency of channel usage in performer-listener
interaction.
In performer – listener communication, touching and interpersonal
distance were rated as unusable. However, the degree of importance
of using these channels was not also low, although other channels
indicated a similar tendency between frequency and degree of
importance. This suggests that touching and interpersonal distance
present considerable importance for participants, in the cases in
which they are able to use them.
Language was less frequently rated and less important for
performers as a signal they transmit, but rather important for
listeners as a signal to receive. This means that this channel is not
equally utilized by performers and listeners in their interaction.
This tendency was also similar for the body movement channel.
This implies that the audience receives more cues from performers
than these are aware they send.
Popular music performers, as compared to classic music performers,
rated higher interpersonal distance and language as transmitted
signals, and language as received signal. Verbal communication
which often occurs in popular music live performances may be
rather important for performers of this genre, who often move
towards and interact verbally with the audience. Another difference
dependent on genre was the rating of facial expressions and body
movement of listeners - popular music performers had higher
ratings than classic music performers.
3.3 Inter-listener communication
Figure 4 shows the mean scores for the frequency of listeners’
answers.
All values were relatively low. Values for received signals were
higher than those for transmitted signals. Therefore, it is suggested
that listeners do not communicate much with each other, and, even
if they do, they are more aware of signals others send, rather than of
the signals they send themselves.
Proceedings of ICoMCS December 2007 Page 78
The inaugural International Conference on
Music Communication Science 5-7 December
2007, Sydney, Australia
http://marcs.uws.edu.au/links/ICoMusic
Figure 4: Frequency of channel usage in inter-listener
communication.
4. CONCLUSION
Results in this study indicate that performers and listeners interact
by transmitting and receiving various musical and non-musical
signals. However, the frequency of usage and importance of each
channel is wide-ranging and dependent on their stance or genre.
Figure 5 summarizes the results obtained in this work. For some
relationships between elements in this model, communication is
achieved through similar channels; however, in the case of other
elements, channels which senders use differ from those receivers
employ. This suggests that channels considered important differ
depending on stance within performance.
Figure 5: Communication processes in music performance
(general overview).
Further, we have to clarify the following problems: (a) influence of
performer’s part (i.e., guitar, piano, etc.) on their behaviour during
performance; (b) artifacts of self-rating studies (i.e., analysis of
actual performances is necessary); (c) specific behaviours on each
channel; (d) relationship between these channels.
This study contributes to the presentation of a broad overview of
communication in music performance.
5. AUTHOR NOTE
This research was partially funded by the Fieldwork Support
Project, Osaka University.
6. REFERENCES
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people communicate using music?. In Miell, D., MacDonald,
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Oxford University Press, New York, 2005.
2. Senju, M., and Ohgushi, K. “How are the player's ideas
conveyed to the audience?”, Music Perception, Vol. 4, No. 4,
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3. Kendall, R.A., and Carterette, E. C. “The communication of
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4. Juslin, P.N., Communicating emotion in music performance: a
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9. Kawase, S., Nakamura, T., et al. “Analysis of gaze interaction
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Hargreaves, D.J., and North, A. C. (Eds.), The social
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Language
Proceedings of ICoMCS December 2007 Page 79
... Since previous studies have mostly focused on performer-audience visual interactions in solo performances, this hypothesis regarding ensemble performances differs from available findings. In light of the reciprocal interaction model including performeraudience communication flows during musical performances (Hargreaves, MacDonald, & Miell, 2005;Kawase et al., 2007), gaze interactions between performers (Davidson, 2005;Kawase, 2009a;Kawase, 2014a;Kawase, 2014b;Moran, 2010) can influence audiences' visual attention. ...
... Keller, 2014), for example gaze, (Davidson, 2005;Kawase, 2009a;Kawase, 2014a;Kawase 2014b;Moran, 2010) which often occur, it makes audiences' attention more complicated. The present result revealed aspects of this complicated attention of audiences and confirmed an assumable relationship between inter-performer interactions and performer-audience interactions (Kawase et al., 2007). ...
... In such cases, visual attention of audience members could differ from the present results. A field study would also be fruitful for exploring audience gazing in real concerts since performer-audience interactions in ensemble concerts involve multifaceted nonverbal cues other than gazing (Kawase et al., 2007;Kurosawa & Davidson, 2005) that might attract visual attention. Such an attempt could contribute to the elucidation of a holistic perspective on musical communication. ...
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