Embodying dynamical systems in music performance

Luc Nijs, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Melissa Bremmer, Amsterdam University of the Arts, The Netherlands

Dylan van der Schyff, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Australia

Andrea Schiavio, School of Arts and Creative Technologies, University of York, UK

Music Performance Research ISSN 1755-9219
Vol. 11, 58-84
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, November 2023
The present contribution introduces a theoretical framework to explore music performance from a perspective inspired by the conceptual resources of two orientations known as Dynamical System Theory and Embodied Cognitive Science. We discursively elaborate on how music performance might be conceived of as a complex, multi-component system that deals with evolving patterns of stability and instability, and examine how a combination of cognitive, motor, and affective skills stands at the heart of the performer’s capacity to optimize their performance. In doing so, we consider how musicians often generate different interpretative “hypotheses” with little or no pre-planning and use their body to selectively navigate the range of possibilities such hypotheses entail. In conclusion, the relevance of this perspective is discussed in relation to current research in music performance and music education to outline continuities and differences between the two domains.
music performance
dynamical systems theory
embodied music cognition
musical instrument.
Full article PDF