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Gestural Strategies in the Harp Performance

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This paper describes an experimentally-based analysis of the interaction between musician and instrument in the case of the classical concert harp. The study highlights gestural strategies used by three harpists while performing a short musical excerpt. As a result of years of practicing, a trained musician has developed the ability to deal with a number of trade-off s among simultaneous objectives while playing. She/he has obviously to set the instrument into vibration, but also to convey some musical intention to the audience and to communicate with other musicians, while keeping a safe posture with respect to articular and muscle pain. In order to precisely describe the motion strategies carried out by trained harpists, an experiment has been designed using a motion capture system and corresponding video and audio recordings. This provides accurate three-dimensional positioning of several markers disposed on the harpist and on the harp, within the execution of a musical piece. From the acquired gestural and acoustical signals, a set of kinematic and dynamic descriptors were extracted. The investigation shows that while each musician uses their own specific and repeatable upper-limb movements, the global sound-producing gesture is mostly controlled by the shoulders. Sound-facilitating hand gestures are highlighted for their supporting role to the musician throughout the musical piece.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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