THE four target articles contained in Vol. 18(1) of Empirical Musicology Review provide novel insights on four key aspects of music performance practice. The contributions cover musicians' choice of appropriate repertoire, their realization of different requested micro-rhythmic "feels", their rapid recognition of style from brief glances at scores, and their audiences' ability to decipher musical form from freely improvised performances.

First, aspiring pianists face the challenge of choosing appropriate repertoire that will advance their development and maintain their intrinsic motivation. Several factors call for consideration here, including the pianist's personal preferences and prior repertoire, their current technical and artistic needs, and their individual physiological constraints. While the two first of these are usually found fairly easily, systematic ways of assessing physiological predispositions and understanding their impact on optimal repertoire choice remain to be established. Watanabe and Takeda's article adopts the "Four-Stance Theory" from sports science to identify systematic relationships between pianist's bodily center of gravity and their relative preference for what they label as "tempo-driven" composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and Frédéric Chopin versus "momentum-driven" composers like Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann. In their two commentaries, Passarotto and Cinelyte raise critical issues regarding measurements of biomechanics in pianists, the dichotomization of composers into two types, and the hypothesized mechanisms underlying the relationship between the two.

Second, innovative motion capture measurements collected by Câmara, Sioros, Nymoen, Haugen, and Danielsen show that guitarists adopt distinct performance practices when prompted to play an offbeat accompaniment with a "laid-back", "on-the-beat", or "pushed" feel. Specifically, they manipulate the velocity and duration of their guitar strokes to achieve measurable acoustic differences in attack duration. Senn argues that this new work may reinvigorate the empirical testing of ethnomusicologist Charles Keil's (possibly underappreciated) theory that music owes its appeal to "participatory discrepancies" in micro-timing. Maybe Keil picked up on the fact that music draws its emotional powers not merely from displacing sounds, but also from timbrally altering them?

Third, like the first target article, Huovinen and Rinne report an empirical study with expert pianists. Their participants were shown piano scores for 500ms at a time and asked to freely describe what they saw and guess the musical style that the musical notation represented. In about half of the trials, stylistic period or composer name was correctly identified. Shorter latency for correct responses is interpreted as suggestive of rapid, intuitive processing. In her commentary, Halpern praises the authors' mixed-methods approach and outlines several empirical research directions for future studies on the roles of motor imagery, metacognition, and expertise in speeded note reading.

Fourth, the study by Faraco demonstrates that perceptions of structure in very complex musical styles, such as freely improvised music, can be very similar across participants, even if the context information given differs. This similarity in structural perception might be one of the reasons why listeners are able to communicate their understanding of even seemingly chaotic music in a meaningful way. In his commentary Norgaard suggests that Pressing's "interrupt generator" (1988) might be a core mechanism that underlies the creation of segmentation in performers but also their perception by audiences. Norgaard also suggests to make use of techniques from music information retrieval for modelling the musical as well as the perceptual data further.

Finally, with their data report on a corpus of piano music from the long 19th century, Hentschel, Rammos, Moss, Neuwirth, and Rohrmeier follow the lead of Bell and Albrecht's (2023) "Mysterium Corpus" of Alexander Scriabin's solo piano works, which was recently published in this journal's Vol. 17(2). Both admirable encoding projects set out to make repertoire from the hitherto underrepresented High- and Late-Romantic Eras available for empirical music researchers. To this end, Hentschel and colleagues present a state-of-the-art corpus of piano music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy, Antonín Dvořák, Edvard Grieg, Franz Liszt, Nikolai Medtner, Robert Schumann, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. In particular, meticulous efforts to retain their full revision history (via a semi-automated, GitHub-based workflow) sets a pioneering standard for future musical corpus research.