Empathy in Piano Duet Rehearsal and Performance


  • Elizabeth Haddon University of York
  • Mark Hutchinson York St John University




empathy, piano duet, rehearsal, performance, reflection, intersubjectivity


The multiple definitions of empathy (Batson, 2011) suggest that despite attempts to rationalize terminology its nature might only be understood by those engaged in particular relational experiences. In music, these include the dimensions of co-player relationships as well as empathy concerning the actual piece of music being rehearsed or performed (Laurence, 2009). This article explores the concept of empathy within the construct of the piano duet. Analysis of data created through reflective writing following each of eight rehearsals revealed bodily, verbal, emotional and cognitive empathy concerning increasing instinctive understanding and tacit communication, unspoken conflict resolution, and the development of creative empathy in relation to the piece of music being rehearsed. The findings highlight the importance of empathy in developing fluidity of roles in rehearsal and in the creation of a “safe space” for musical collaboration.




How to Cite

Haddon, E., & Hutchinson, M. (2015). Empathy in Piano Duet Rehearsal and Performance. Empirical Musicology Review, 10(1-2), 140–153. https://doi.org/10.18061/emr.v10i1-2.4573