Why do I like Schumann more than Chopin? A Physiological Analysis of Pianists' Affinities for Composers





Physiology, Piano Education, Piano Pedagogy, The Four-Stance Theory


Understanding students' physiological characteristics is essential in piano teaching. However, how can teachers in the field know what music suits their students physiologically? This paper explores a new theory in sport science called, "the Four-Stance Theory" to provide teachers with a simple yet practical method to understand students' physiological nature. A survey-based experiment with 20 research participants (10 male and 10 female pianists) was conducted. Research participants were physically tested for their physiological "Stance Types" to see if pianists' physiological characteristics can predict their preferences for certain composers' music. Chi-square tests of independence showed that Stance Type can indeed predict what type of composers they favor (p < .05); further, this simple 10-minute physical test could also predict what types of composer's works they feel most technically comfortable to perform (p < .01) and feel are easier to understand (p < .05). These results indicate that this remarkably simple method could effectively discern pianists' physiological nature and predict which composer's music suits them physiologically. The authors envision that this 10-minute test could be useful for bringing physiological preparedness to both teachers and students.




How to Cite

Watanabe, Y., & Takeda, S. (2024). Why do I like Schumann more than Chopin? A Physiological Analysis of Pianists’ Affinities for Composers. Empirical Musicology Review, 18(1), 2–16. https://doi.org/10.18061/emr.v18i1.8385