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Title: An embodied perspective on piano timbre : conceptualisation and communication in performance and educational context
Author: Li, Shen
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis presents three empirical studies which explore the conceptualisation and communication of piano timbre from the perspective of the performer, the listener, and the pairing of teacher and student. The research started from the perspective of the debate between acousticians and musicians on touch-tone relationships, with the conviction that piano timbre should not be only concerned with the examination of sonic outcomes, but should aim to understand the phenomenology of experiences and conceptions related to piano timbre. Less is known about what contributes to the conceptualisation of piano timbre in terms of metaphor, cross-modal experience, mental images etc.; whether, and how, a timbral intention in piano performance can be communicated to others via sound and/or the body. By adopting an embodied perspective, this research has focused on an exploration of sound-gesture relationships in the perception and production of piano timbre, using a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The first interview study indicated that expressive gestures and the introspective experience of performers affect the way they perceive and describe piano timbre. The second study examined the embodiment of piano timbre and demonstrated through a perceptual experiment that the visual component of piano performance influences the perceived timbral experience of listeners. The communication of piano timbre is multimodal and integrates aspects from visual, tactile, kinaesthetic and sonic dimensions. The third teaching observation study implied that shared understanding of piano timbre is an emergent and enactive product in a piano lesson through the real-time collaboration and participation of both the teacher and the student. The whole thesis contributes to the understanding of embodied music cognition and has implications for expressive piano performance and teaching practice.
Supervisor: Timmers, Renee ; Pitts, Stephanie Sponsor: Chinese Scholarship Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available