AuthorSerrano, Jose Gaston.
Committee ChairKnott, Josef
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this investigation was to examine subject response to music conducting motions simulated on a computer screen. Forty musicians and forty non-musicians responded to a point of light moving around a computer screen simulating the tip of a conductor's baton. Subjects were asked to press a button every time they perceived a beat portrayed in the motions. The timing of subject responses to four modes of motion was recorded and analyzed. In order to produce sound from their musical instruments, musicians must undergo a process that involves developing a mental image of the upcoming sound, creating an action program, and performing the chain of physical events that will culminate in the production of the desired sound. Even though it may last a mere fraction of a second, this process of anticipation is an essential component of music making. Whereas solo musicians anticipate the music rather freely, ensemble musicians must meet an essential requirement for obtaining satisfying musical results: they must play together. Since they also need to anticipate the music, then they must anticipate together in order to play together. This coordination is accomplished by way of visual information provided by the conductor. In the present study it was hypothesized that speed and direction of conducting motions from any given beat to the next play an important role in the observers' ability to anticipate and synchronize their motor activity. The experimental design allowed the author to examine visual perception of simulated conducting motions showing distinct motion behaviors, in isolation from actual sound and other sensory cues. Results of this investigation indicate that both musicians and non-musicians respond with a high degree of uniformity to a type of conducting motion which resembles the motion produced by gravitational forces--accelerating going down, decelerating going up, following a parabolic trajectory when moving to either side. On the other hand, a motion which is inversely proportional to the motion produced by gravity yielded mixed results: non-musicians responded more uniformly than did musicians, as the latter were divided according to two distinct interpretations of where the beats occurred within the simulated conducting patterns.