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.
THE AIM OF THIS SERIES OF experiments was to determine whether consonant and dissonant chords elicit similar or different electrophysiological effects out of a musical context and whether these effects are similar or different for musicians and nonmusicians. To this end, w e recorded t he e vent-related b rain potentials (ERPs) elicited by the different intervals of the chromatic scale that were classified into three categories: perfect consonances, imperfect consonances, and dissonances. Participants were to decide, on a six-point scale, whether the intervals evoked pleasant or unpleasant feelings. To test the hypothesis that the perception of dissonance results from the superposition of the partials of close frequencies (Helmholtz, 1877), two notes were either played together (harmonic intervals) or successively (melodic intervals). Since, in this latter case, the two notes are played at different points in time, the perception of roughness, if any, should be weaker than for harmonic intervals. In line with Helmholtz's hypothesis, results showed larger differences for harmonic than for melodic intervals, which were mainly found on the N1-P2 complex for musicians, on the N2 component for nonmusicians, and on a later negative component for both musicians and nonmusicians. However, these results also point to the influence of expertise and cultural factors, since different results were obtained when ERPs were averaged as a function of music theory and according to the participants' responses.