In a Previous Study, Mechanical and Expressive clarinet performances of Bach's Suite No. II and Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings were analyzed to determine whether some acoustical correlates of timbre (e.g., spectral centroid), timing (intertone onset interval), and dynamics (root mean square envelope) showed significant differences depending on the expressive intention of the performer. In the present companion study, we investigate the effects of these acoustical parameters on listeners' preferences. An analysis-by-synthesis approach was used to transform previously recorded clarinet performances by reducing the expressive deviations from the spectral centroid, the intertone onset interval and the acoustical energy. Twenty skilled musicians were asked to select which version they preferred in a paired comparison task. The results of statistical analyses showed that the removal of the spectral centroid variations resulted in the greatest loss of musical preference.
This study deals with the acoustical factors liable to account for expressiveness in clarinet performances. Mechanical and expressive performances of excerpts from Bach's Suite No. II and Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings were recorded. Timbre, timing, dynamics, and pitch descriptors were extracted from the recorded performances. The data were processed using a two-way analysis of variance, where the musician's expressive intentions and the note factors were defined as the independent variables. In both musical excerpts, a strong effect of the expressive intention was observed on the timbre (attack time, spectral centroid, odd/even ratio), timing (intertone onset intervals) and dynamics (root mean square envelope) descriptors. The changes in the timbre descriptors were found to depend on the position of the notes in the musical phrases. These results suggest that timbre, as well as timing and dynamics variations, may mediate expressiveness in the musical messages transmitted from performers to listeners.