Research Topic

Connecting Music and Body Movement: Choreographic Approach of Performance

About this Research Topic

Since the pianoforte invention by Bartolomeo Cristofori in 1709, a new technique was developed, different from keyboard instruments’ techniques used at the time. The same can be said for almost all the other instruments, having the evolution of their mechanisms happened in different periods of music history. Methods and schools were established according to the needs imposed by the interdependent evolution of instrument and repertoire, mostly based on the interaction between the performer's body and the instrument.

Going beyond the basic playing mechanism, in which training is contemplated by different approaches of technique, another genre of body movement, which we chose to call “choreography” should be considered. These movements, which can help, for instance, to sharpen dynamic effects by adjusting the right articulation to the desired volume of sound, make it possible for musicians to produce different qualities of sound to the same passage. Furthermore, we believe that this factor is precisely what defines the performer’s identity. Individual sound quality is therefore envisaged and cultivated, independently from pitch, duration, articulation, dynamics, and other aspects belonging to the area of interpretation. Additionally, in finding the most comfortable way of producing the imagined - and personal - sound, ergonomic aspects are immediately associated with the choreography concept hereby suggested.

Publications evoking the relationship between body and music during public performances are mostly focused either on the attitude towards the public or on performance expressiveness. Sound quality is mentioned by some musicians but not to the point of defining performers’ identity. As in almost any kind of approach regarding performance analysis, we are dealing with a subjective aspect which might prove to be more or less objectively assessed depending on the resources adopted.

In this Research Topic, we are aiming to launch new perspectives of Music Performance Analysis. We encourage researchers to explore, as objectively as possible, the different subjects which will certainly emerge from questions such as:
● Given that live performance videos make the connection between body movement and sound production perceptible through keen observation, would great performers (internationally renowned) be disposed to talk about their decisions regarding sound quality in their own renditions of one given piece or of specific passages in different pieces? Is this kind of decision consciously taken, or is it completely intuitive?
● Is the awareness of this tripartite relationship (Choreography - Ergonomics - Sound Production) transmissible from teachers to students, or is it part of the implicit self-taught aspect of each performer’s daily work?
● Do the different modalities of “Yoga for Musicians” classes, offered by some renowned musical institutions in their curricula, take this tripartite relationship into consideration?
● How can body awareness be built in order to improve this laboratory of sound during pianists practicing sessions?
● Could this intermeshing process be accessed by technology and made visible and observable?

The following article types will be accepted for submission: Book Review, Brief Research Report, Conceptual Analysis, Hypothesis and Theory, Original Research, Perspective, Registered Report, Review, Systematic Review, and Technology and Code.

The image used is "Fluctus", a gouache by Veronica Scharf Garcia.


Keywords: performance analysis, sound quality, sound identity, choreography, ergonomics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Since the pianoforte invention by Bartolomeo Cristofori in 1709, a new technique was developed, different from keyboard instruments’ techniques used at the time. The same can be said for almost all the other instruments, having the evolution of their mechanisms happened in different periods of music history. Methods and schools were established according to the needs imposed by the interdependent evolution of instrument and repertoire, mostly based on the interaction between the performer's body and the instrument.

Going beyond the basic playing mechanism, in which training is contemplated by different approaches of technique, another genre of body movement, which we chose to call “choreography” should be considered. These movements, which can help, for instance, to sharpen dynamic effects by adjusting the right articulation to the desired volume of sound, make it possible for musicians to produce different qualities of sound to the same passage. Furthermore, we believe that this factor is precisely what defines the performer’s identity. Individual sound quality is therefore envisaged and cultivated, independently from pitch, duration, articulation, dynamics, and other aspects belonging to the area of interpretation. Additionally, in finding the most comfortable way of producing the imagined - and personal - sound, ergonomic aspects are immediately associated with the choreography concept hereby suggested.

Publications evoking the relationship between body and music during public performances are mostly focused either on the attitude towards the public or on performance expressiveness. Sound quality is mentioned by some musicians but not to the point of defining performers’ identity. As in almost any kind of approach regarding performance analysis, we are dealing with a subjective aspect which might prove to be more or less objectively assessed depending on the resources adopted.

In this Research Topic, we are aiming to launch new perspectives of Music Performance Analysis. We encourage researchers to explore, as objectively as possible, the different subjects which will certainly emerge from questions such as:
● Given that live performance videos make the connection between body movement and sound production perceptible through keen observation, would great performers (internationally renowned) be disposed to talk about their decisions regarding sound quality in their own renditions of one given piece or of specific passages in different pieces? Is this kind of decision consciously taken, or is it completely intuitive?
● Is the awareness of this tripartite relationship (Choreography - Ergonomics - Sound Production) transmissible from teachers to students, or is it part of the implicit self-taught aspect of each performer’s daily work?
● Do the different modalities of “Yoga for Musicians” classes, offered by some renowned musical institutions in their curricula, take this tripartite relationship into consideration?
● How can body awareness be built in order to improve this laboratory of sound during pianists practicing sessions?
● Could this intermeshing process be accessed by technology and made visible and observable?

The following article types will be accepted for submission: Book Review, Brief Research Report, Conceptual Analysis, Hypothesis and Theory, Original Research, Perspective, Registered Report, Review, Systematic Review, and Technology and Code.

The image used is "Fluctus", a gouache by Veronica Scharf Garcia.


Keywords: performance analysis, sound quality, sound identity, choreography, ergonomics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

26 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

26 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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