Measuring musical interaction: analysing communication in embodied musical behaviour

Moran, Nicola Stephanie (2007). Measuring musical interaction: analysing communication in embodied musical behaviour. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis addresses the ubiquity and necessity of embodied interaction to musical activity, using video analysis to observe communication in musical events. Through the specific study of classical North Indian instrumental duo performance, the thesis examines how processes of social interaction may inform human musical activity, using a combined methodology of ethnographic study and quantitative data analysis of original video-recordings. Proposing a pragmatic approach to the study of the meaningful nature of musical events, the thesis keeps sight of the generative context of the human body in social interaction, and offers a model of musical communication that privileges nonlinguistic, socially co-regulative elements in its account of human musical interaction. The socially meaningful nature of the behaviour-in-time of the musicians included in the study is investigated by means of a novel methodology. This combines the qualitative exploration of emic concepts related to the practice of North Indian classical music with an empirical analysis of video data, based on a cognitive ethological framework. The thesis draws on current notions of embodied cognition and contributes to the growing corpus of musicological literature emphasising the embodied and social nature of musical communication. The results of this exploratory study suggest that both social-interaction and music-structural factors contribute to the organisation of the musicians' communicative behaviours and that, to a certain extent, these organisational factors can be separated in analysis.

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