The Kinematics of Musical Expression in the Spatiotemporal Dimension


  • Steven Livingstone



visual / expressive performance, motion, phrasing, time series


During performance, musicians are known to move their bodies in rhythmic and expressive displays. Buck, MacRitchie, and Bailey’s intriguing article aims to show that these visual gestures reflect a musician’s expressive interpretation of the composition and underlying phrasal structure. I briefly discuss three issues that may be taken into account when interpreting musicians’ reported movements. First, performers’ movements were interpreted as reflecting ancillary movements that are not associated with sound generation. However, these movements may not be as dissociable from sound-producing motor movements as is suggested. Second, differences in performers’ movements may be interpreted in the context of individual differences in expressive timing of expert musicians. Third, the periodic nature of performers’ motion profiles may lend themselves to frequency-based analyses that may reveal an underlying musical ‘pulse’ or pulses of the performer.




How to Cite

Livingstone, S. (2013). The Kinematics of Musical Expression in the Spatiotemporal Dimension. Empirical Musicology Review, 8(2), 124–127.