Expressing tonal closure in music performance: Auditory and visual cues

Authors

  • Donovon Keith Ceaser Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
  • William Forde Thompson Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
  • Frank Russo Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Keywords:

Acoustic outputs, Facial expressions, Mean values, Music performance, Visual cues

Abstract

We examined whether musical performers communicate tonal closure through expressive manipulation of facial expressions and non-pitch features of the acoustic output. Two musicians hummed two versions of Silent Night: one ended on die tonic of the scale and exhibited tonal closure; the other ended on the dominant and was therefore tonally unclosed. In Experiment 1, video-only recordings of the hummed sequences were presented to 15 participants, who judged whether the (imagined) melody was closed or unclosed. Accuracy was reliably above chance, indicating that the musicians expressed tonal closure in facial expressions and listeners decoded these cues. Experiment 2 was conducted to determine whether musicians also communicate tonal closure in acoustic attributes other than pitch. All tones in the hummed melodies were pitched-shifted to a constant mean value, but performances still differed in loudness, microtonal pitch variation, timing, and timbre. Participants judged whether audio-only recordings were closed or unclosed. Accuracy was not above chance overall, but was marginally above chance for judgement of one of the two singers. Results suggest that tonal closure can be mapped onto non-pitch aspects of performance expression, but is primarily restricted to the use of facial expressions.

Published

2009-03-01

How to Cite

1.
Ceaser DK, Thompson WF, Russo F. Expressing tonal closure in music performance: Auditory and visual cues. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2009Mar.1 [cited 2020Aug.10];37(1):29-34. Available from: https://jcaa.caa-aca.ca/index.php/jcaa/article/view/2113

Issue

Section

Technical Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>