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Thread: Top musicians judged as much on their movements as for the music making (!!!!!)

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Default Top musicians judged as much on their movements as for the music making (!!!!!)

    The article available in this link is an interesting observation, something I have thought was true, and though one small study is not enough to be conclusive, somewhat affirms what I believe influences lay and professional listeners alike as to what makes them think a performance is good -- it boils down to the seemingly very strong influence on the audience of what is visually perceived to be gestures which are taken as showing passion, i.e. the player is passionate in performing the work.

    Showmanship sells, seems to trump actual quality of the music making .... hmmmm.

    http://www.economist.com/news/scienc...their-melodies

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    Senior Member Vesteralen's Avatar
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    Seems we've seen this study referred to before recently, haven't we?

    I have an even more embarrassing admission I can make. I have a special section in my CD collection that is performer based rather than composer based. Every single artist in this category of my collection is a woman - from Rosa Ponselle, Maud Adams and Ginette Neveu to Julia Fischer, Helen Grimaud and Nicola Benedetti. That probably says something.
    Last edited by Vesteralen; Sep-05-2013 at 12:48.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesteralen View Post
    Seems we've seen this study referred to before recently, haven't we?

    I have an even more embarrassing admission I can make. I have a special section in my CD collection that is performer based rather than composer based. Every single artist in this category of my collection is a woman - from Rosa Ponselle, Maud Adams and Ginette Neveu to Julia Fischer, Helen Grimaud and Nicola Benedetti. That probably says something.

    "Good looks are the best introduction you could have." ~ Aristotle

    "Good looks get you by for five minutes; after that you are on your own" ~ Loretta Young

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesteralen View Post
    I have an even more embarrassing admission I can make. I have a special section in my CD collection that is performer based rather than composer based. Every single artist in this category of my collection is a woman - from Rosa Ponselle, Maud Adams and Ginette Neveu to Julia Fischer, Helen Grimaud and Nicola Benedetti. That probably says something.
    Some Roman (Juvenal?) said, "A pretty face is a silent recommendation."


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    Senior Member Vesteralen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Some Roman (Juvenal?) said, "A pretty face is a silent recommendation."
    lisa-batiashvili-brahms-schumann.jpg

    or

    BrahmsViolinO.jpg

    ???????

    I'm sorry Mr Oistrach, you're a great violinist, but why would I want to own a copy of this picture?

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    Senior Member Vesteralen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesteralen View Post
    Seems we've seen this study referred to before recently, haven't we?

    I have an even more embarrassing admission I can make. I have a special section in my CD collection that is performer based rather than composer based. Every single artist in this category of my collection is a woman - from Rosa Ponselle, Maud Adams and Ginette Neveu to Julia Fischer, Helen Grimaud and Nicola Benedetti. That probably says something.

    Well, I don't know if it was a Freudian slip or some other kind of slip, but Maud Adams - 13341__10_adams_l.jpg

    was not a famous musician the last time I checked.

    Maud Powell - Powell.jpg - however, was.

    And thus I answer the challenge of assumed shallowness of which you have all accused me.

    My Maud Powell and Hilary Hahn collections show that I'm about more than just a pretty face....

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    The article was not about perceived physical beauty, but about the performer appearing to be passionate, i.e. gestures and facial expressions while performing.

    In other genres, Eric Clapton was famous / infamous for making no show of the playing, no big gesture follow-through, no curled lip sneer or contorted facial movements to 'convey' the music.

    John Fahey would get on stage, not say a word, not chat up the crowd, sat down and "just played."

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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    That is interesting indeed.
    Of course, it's about judging competitions, not about real enjoyment of real performances...
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hreichgott View Post
    That is interesting indeed.
    Of course, it's about judging competitions, not about real enjoyment of real performances...
    It seems both hardened professionals and the hoi-polloi are influenced by gestures, including the general performances, those gestures and expressions influencing what they hear.

    Many a competition has the judges behind a screen so they cannot see anything of the contestant.... I often shut my eyes when listening to a concert, the better to hear without that known distraction.

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    Senior Member Vesteralen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    The article was not about perceived physical beauty, but about the performer appearing to be passionate, i.e. gestures and facial expressions while performing.

    In other genres, Eric Clapton was famous / infamous for making no show of the playing, no big gesture follow-through, no curled lip sneer or contorted facial movements to 'convey' the music.

    John Fahey would get on stage, not say a word, not chat up the crowd, sat down and "just played."
    Yeah, I know. I was just side-tracking. Sorry about that.

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    Senior Member quack's Avatar
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    I read in the article that science posted the other day, about orchestras in crisis, that blind auditions are the standard, which surprised me.

    Watching people performing has never especially interested me, they are either just someone doing their job or distractingly dramatic, I always tune out. I saw a youtube opera performance, a passionate tragic finale became ridiculous and funny as the camera got right in their faces showing their silly costumes and over emoting. It reminded me why I rarely watch opera.
    The soft complaining flute in dying notes discovers the woes of hopeless lovers.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    There has been talk in this thread about judging based on gestures, perceived passion, showmanship, good looks, and facial expressions. In fact the study addressed none of these things. It simply determined that knowledgeable people seeing only the visuals guessed winners in competitions more often than people who had both visuals and sound.

    It would be interesting to know the reasons, but we have none of that.


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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quack View Post
    blind auditions are the standard, which surprised me.
    Blind auditions are a guard against gender and racial bias. Professional orchestras started hiring women at an astonishingly higher rate as soon as they started using blind auditions.

    Re: physical gestures and emoting -- just for the sake of argument, isn't there something to be said for the visual aspects of performance? Of course sound is primary and visual elements shouldn't be distracting or out of character with the music, but I do think that in-character facial expressions and choice of posture can help the audience get into a performance. And they can help the performer produce a good-sounding interpretation. (When not overdone or distracting.) Yo-Yo Ma comes to mind.
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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