Dirk Moelants

Ghent University, Gand, Flemish, Belgium

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Publications (60)28.21 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. This has given rise to many paradigms and theories, including embodied approaches that provide interesting methodologies in studies on music and dance. Insight into the relation between dance and music is particularly important for the Baroque period, as a direct connection between music and dance was omnipresent, even if music was not used to dance to. Many types of Baroque dances existed, each of them with particular dance steps and a specific character, requiring a specific tempo. However, in music performance practice today, the link with the original dance movement is often lost and the tempo variation can be very large, both between different performances of the same dance and within one performance. The aim of this study is to compare the interpretations of dancers and musicians regarding Baroque music and dance in an experimental setting. The study consists of two parts. First, we investigate the influence of dance movement on the musical interpretation of a series of Baroque dances. The pieces were recorded both with and without dance accompaniment and the tempo and timing in the different versions were compared. In the second part, dancers performed a particular choreography on music that varied in tempo. Video analysis and questionnaire data were used to evaluate the different performances. The results were compared with the tempi of music recordings of the same dance types, showing a clear difference between music and dance performance. In general, this study shows that musicians adapt their interpretation when performing together with the dancers and that the optimal tempo range 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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Music Perception
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    ABSTRACT: In our engagement with music, not only the physical experience of sound is important. Also the interplay between body movements, musical gestures and the cognitive processes of performers and listeners is part of our experience. Yet, this multimodal aspect is not always fully considered when analyzing music performance. In this paper, we want to establish a framework for a multi-layered analysis of music performance, building on data retrieved from quantitative and qualitative procedures and involving the perspectives of composer, performer and musicologist. The performance of a classical guitarist was analyzed in detail, using both a 'bottom-up' approach (audio-analysis and motion-capture) and a 'top-down' perspective (annotations from video-footage by composer, musician and researchers). These different analytical layers were compared and evaluated, which pointed out that multiple perspectives can reinforce each other in detecting musical targets and can help detecting mismatches between qualitative and quantitative data.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jun 2015
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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.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Aug 2014
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · PLoS ONE
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Music Perception
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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.
    No preview · Book · Feb 2013

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Cognitive Processing
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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
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces
  • Katty Kochman · Pieter Coussement · Dirk Moelants · Marc Leman
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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.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of New Music Research
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of New Music Research
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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.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2012
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    Dirk Moelants
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    ABSTRACT: notes inégales is a common practice in the performance of French baroque music. It indicates that the first of a pair of equally notated notes is played longer, similar to the use of swing eighths in jazz. The performance of that inequality is an ongoing source of debate, but the actual performance has not been studied yet. In an experiment, eight harpsichordists and eight baroque violinists performed six melodies of French baroque gavottes in three tempo conditions. The mean ratio of inequality was 1.63, with mean ratios of individual performers varying between 1.89 and 1.33. Another significant source of variance was the metric structure, with larger inequality found at metrically important points. Tempo also had an important influence, but individual interpretation varied greatly. For example, while most performers played more evenly while tempo increased, some performers chose the opposite strategy. Pitch interval had only a minor impact on the execution of the notes inégales, but also showed differences between performers. The results show the importance of personal style in music performance: although the music played is highly standardized, we show how the timing of different performers can be influenced by different aspects of the musical structure.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Music Perception

  • No preview · Article · May 2011 · International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
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    Katty Kochman · Michiel Demey · Dirk Moelants · Marc Leman · K Kochman · M Demey · D Moelants · M Leman
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011
  • Dirk Moelants
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper statistical techniques like correlation and analysis of variance are applied to the analysis of musical scores and performances. As an illustration of the possibilities of these techniques in music analysis, one of the first examples of rationally constructed punctual serial music, Karel Goeyvaerts’ “No. 1” was analyzed. This led to interesting new insights in the construction of the score. In addition, three expert performances of the piece were analyzed. In these some strategies of expressive timing not related to structural aspects were found as well as considerable problems of coordination between the performers. This gives rise to questions about music cognition, music critics and aesthetics.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2010 · Journal of New Music Research
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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.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2010 · Signal Processing
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces
  • Leen Bruyn · Marc Leman · Dirk Moelants
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    ABSTRACT: We empirically quantified the impact of social interaction on movements made by children while listening and responding to music. The methodology was based on wireless motion capturing, using Wii Nintendo Remote sensors, and subsequent statistical analysis. We investigated intensity of movement and the amount of synchronization with the beat in two conditions: individual, separated by screens, and social, moving together in groups of four encouraging social interaction. Data analysis showed that there is a social embodiment factor which can be measured and quantified. Furthermore there is also an effect found of the type of music on the gesture response, both in the individual and social context of the experiment.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Jan 2010
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    Hyun Jin · Kim · Michiel Demey · Dirk Moelants · Marc Leman
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    ABSTRACT: In the recent framework of embodiment in music research, the mechanisms of the action-perception cycle are regarded as a basis for music cognition and aesthetic musical experience. Our case study aimed at investigating these mechanisms related to a high-level process of experience of musical expressiveness. Three professional musicians – gamba player, clarinetist, and singer – were instructed to play two pieces which they have never played yet, but the style of which they are familiar with. Each of these pieces was played sight-reading, then again after 20 minutes practice. A starting point of our study was the assumption that professional musicians would experience their sight-reading performances as less expressive, compared to their final performances due to the different performance conditions concerning the coordination of auditory and motor processes as well as the interplay between interpretative and performative expressiveness, and each performer's micro-gestures preparing and closing musical passages would correspond to musical expressiveness experienced by her or him. Performance micro-gestures preparing and closing musical passages were identified, based on the annotation of the high-speed video, and the corresponding motion capture data were analyzed. Additionally, timing and dynamic changes in the audio were quantified. The musicians' self-reports on bodily and/or visceral reactions noticed during the ongoing processes of music performance and on experienced musical expressiveness, which were collected through post-experimental oral interviews, were taken into account to interpret the results of analyses of the motion capture data and the audio data. The results imply that musically relevant preparatory and retrospective micro-gestures that might be conceived of as perceptually guided actions embody musical expressiveness emerging during the ongoing processes of music performance, which is monitored or/and pre-reflectively felt by the performer.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2010
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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.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Aug 2009

Publication Stats

634 Citations
28.21 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2-2014
    • Ghent University
      • • Department of Electronics and Information Systems
      • • Department of Telecommunications and Information
      Gand, Flemish, Belgium