What is the effect of performers’ experienced emotions on the auditory characteristics of their performances? By asking performers to play a music phrase in response to three different instructions we attempted to answer this question. Performers were instructed to do the following: 1) play while focusing on the technical aspects of their playing; 2) give an expressive performance; and 3) focus on their experienced emotions, prior to which they were subjected to a sadness-inducing mood induction task. Performers were interviewed after each playing condition. We analyzed the tempo, articulation, dynamics, timbre, and vibrato of the performances obtained as well as the interview data. A focus on technique resulted in technically appropriate performances, a focus on expressivity in more extraverted and externally projected performances, and a focus on experienced emotions in more introverted and personal performances. The findings of this exploratory study are valuable for both research and artistic practice and pedagogy.

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