Thinking Sound and Body-Motion Shapes in Music: Public Peer Review of “Gesture and the Sonic Event in Karnatak Music” by Lara Pearson


  • Rolfe Inge God



Indian vocal music, body motion, shape, multimodality


It seems that the majority of research on music-related body motion has so far been focused on Western music, so this paper by Lara Pearson on music-re­lated body motion in Indian vocal music is a most welcome contribution to this field. But research on music-related body motion does present us with a number of chal­lenges, ranging from issues of method to fundamental issues of perception and multi­modal integration in music. In such research, thinking of perceptually salient fea­tures in different modalities (sound, motion, touch, etc.) as shapes seems to go well with our cognitive apparatus, and also be quite practical in representing the fea­tures in question. The research reported in this paper gives us an insight into how trac­ing shapes by hand motion is an integral part of teaching Indian vocal music, and the approach of this paper also holds promise for fruitful future research.