Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Copresence and coordination in jazz musicians' collaborative music -making
by Levine, Michelle F., Ph.D., New School University, 2010, 133; 3403447
Abstract (Summary)

When musicians perform together, how do they successfully coordinate? What are the types of information (auditory, visual, physical) needed for particular musical moments? The present study analyzes 90 performances of the same jazz bebop musical piece by 30 experienced jazz piano and saxophone duos, new to working with each other. Each duo (in different counterbalanced orders) played the piece in the same physical space (face-to-face), separate spaces mediated by video and audio (video-mediated), and separate spaces mediated only by audio (audio-mediated). After the performances, musicians completed a post-experiment questionnaire that assessed their feelings of copresence in each setting. The piece, specially composed for this experiment, included notated sections and improvised sax and piano solos. All 90 performances were blindly rated by experts—jazz musicians with substantial experience as academic and competition jurors—on various aspects of quality of coordination and ensemble playing, as well as on improvisation quality. For the notated sections, discrepancy scores (millisecond differences in when pianist and saxophonist started playing) were computed for musical moments where the score instructed the musicians to simultaneously play notes. Although many musicians reported feeling most copresent “with” their partner when they performed in the same space, a surprising percentage reported no difference across settings, and partners did not necessarily report the same experience. Musicians’ ability to coordinate and improvise was affected by the ability to see their musical partner (visual copresence), and the ability to be in the same physical space as their partner (physical copresence), differently at different moments. The effects were mediated by musicians’ feelings of copresence and knowledge of available alternate media. The results support the notion that a theory of musical collaboration needs to include a taxonomy of coordinated musical moments and elements that delineates which moments within music-making have the same coordination demands and affordances.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schober, Michael F.
Commitee: Hancock, Jeffrey T., Hirst, William, de Kenessey, Stefania
School: New School University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 71/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Music, Communication, Psychology
Keywords: Collaborative music-making, Jazz, Musicians
Publication Number: 3403447
ISBN: 9781109769777
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