Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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/science-and-technology/21583974-top-musicians-are-judged-much-their-movements-their-melodies
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,277 Posts
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. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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
 
  • Like
Reactions: Vesteralen

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,011 Posts
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."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,277 Posts
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 - Hair Shoe Shoulder Leg Dress


was not a famous musician the last time I checked.

Maud Powell - Jaw Art Painting Vintage clothing Monochrome
- 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....;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,532 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,277 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,221 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,011 Posts
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.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,019 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
I hereby confess to have been influenced by a pretty face when listening to a violinist or any musician.

But this doesn't last. After hearing enough performances from one musician, you do hear her (...or his) playing, and notice "this re-cute young violinist is horribly out of tune in Proko I 2", or "OK, his face is burnt, but he feels and plays Bartok better than any other does".

More: seduction isn't all about the face (...nor even about other physical attributes). Someone gets very seducing because she/he plays one's favourite instrument so nicely or is a genial physicist. And after a young woman became the first human to fly a helicopter by muscle power, the word most associated with her name at Google search was "married". So rare skills just makes someone seducing - as if it were a means to propagate the skills to the species or the descendants.

Though, orchestras do favour pretty faces when excellent musicians abound for some instrument. That's especially clear for the flute, played by very cute women in so many orchestras. Chance can't possibly explain it, and cameras show them as often as they have an excuse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
About the influence of beautiful musicians on our desire for music...
Check the comment "Where is Clara?" with 7 thumbs up:

Clara Andrada de la Calle is that flautist, absent for the performance of Sheherazade
at least 8 comment writers had taken the time to know her name. The first name sufficed.

In case someone has difficulties to concentrate on music while staring at her face, I confirm that she plays very nicely.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top