Importance of Communication Cues in Music Performance according to Performers and Audience

  •  Satoshi Kawase    


The present study was designed to investigate what types of communication cues performers and audience
members regard as important during music performance. Our attempt differed from other studies in that it
explored a holistic perspective of multiple cues in music performance through self-reports. The questionnaires
provided a simple model of reciprocal communication flows among four roles, namely, performer, co-performer,
audience, and co-audience member, as well as 10 types of communication cues, namely, facial expression, gaze,
body movement, posture, touch, interpersonal distance, verbal information, attire, breath, and musical sound. A
total of 86 performers and 149 audience members filled in the questionnaires. In referring to this model and
imagining music performances, they rated the importance of communication cues according to their role as
performers or audience members, situations (practice/performance). Performers selected the music genres that
their performances usually play. Performers were also asked to draw stage positioning in music performance.
The main findings are as follows: (1) Participants’ roles as either performers or audience members affected their
opinions about the importance of communication cues. In inter-performer communication, sound, gaze, body
movement, facial expression, and breath were rated as highly important in both practice and performance. In
performer-to-audience communication, musical sound, facial expression, and body movement were rated as
highly important. (2) Participants regarded similar cues as important regardless of their role: senders and
receivers of inter-performer and performer-to-audience communication. (3) Music genre (classical or popular)
and situation (practice or performance) influenced participants’ opinions about the importance of communication
cues and stage positioning.

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