Behavioral coordination among chamber musicians: a study of visual synchrony and communication in two string quartets

Biasutti, M. and Concina, E. and Wasley, D. and Williamon, A. (2013) Behavioral coordination among chamber musicians: a study of visual synchrony and communication in two string quartets. In: International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, 23-31 August 2013, Austria.

056Paper_Biasutti.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (83kB) | Preview


In ensemble performances, group members may use particular behaviors as a sort of “language” to supplement the lack of verbal communication. These behaviors can be classified into several categories: music regulators, musical expression behaviors, personal needs behaviors, and preparatory and instrumental needs. This study focuses on music regulators, which are defined as signs to the other group members for coordinating the performance: eye contact, smiles, and body movement for attacks and feedback. To understand how regulators are used by ensemble players, video recordings of two string quartet performances were analyzed. Two conditions were considered: a low stress performance (LSP) represented by an ensemble rehearsal, and a high stress performance (HSP) represented by a concert. Findings demonstrated that, during musical performance, eye contact has two important functions: communication between ensemble members and monitoring individual and group performance. It appears strictly related to the score, as it is used to support synchronization, especially in critical technical or rhythmical passages. Movements connected with attacks seem influenced by stressful conditions and by the presence of the audience, conveying both communicative and expressive meanings.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: music regulators; behavioral coordination; eye contact; video analysis; string quartets
Subjects: Performance Science
Music Psychology
Division: Performance Science
Depositing User: Professor Aaron Williamon
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 16:31
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2018 16:31

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item