About the project

This project seeks to investigate the close couplings between musical sound and human bodily micromotion. Micromotion is here used to describe the smallest displacements of human body parts, either voluntary or involuntary, typically at a speed smaller than 10 mm/s.

From a pilot study of people standing still while listening to music.

From a pilot study of people standing still while listening to music.

Photo: Alexander Refsum Jensenius, UiO.

The last decades have seen an increased focus on the role of the human body in both the performance and the perception of music (Gritten and King, 2006), and today it is difficult to imagine talking about the experience of music without also focusing on how music is experienced through the body (Godoy and Leman, 2010). Up to now, however, the micro-level of these experiences has received little attention. This project will investigate such music-related micromotion, with an aim of contributing to:

  • knowledge about how musical sound influences human motion at the micro-level. This will be based on literature studies, theoretical modelling, and a longitudinal observational study as well as three large-scale experiments of sound-motion relationships.

  • a large, annotated and metadata-rich database of the micromotion recordings mentioned above. The database will be central to the current project, and will also be made available for future research in the field.

  • conceptual models and software tools for using micromotion to control musical sound in computer-based systems. Such musical microinteraction can be used for music performance or production, or for “active listening”.

The project is:

  • at the research frontier of basic issues in cognitive musicology, embodied music cognition, music technology, and human-computer interaction.

  • truly interdisciplinary, bridging over between so-called “hard” and “soft” research approaches, as well as between science and the arts.

  • innovative, with research outputs in the form of scientific publications, an open database, and open source software tools.

Results from the project will feed directly into current trends in musicology and in music psychology/cognition, where more knowledge about the human body is of great importance for the further understanding of how humans produce, perform and perceive music. The conceptual models and software tools developed in the project may also have a wider impact. For example, previous research on (more large-scale) music-related body motion has resulted in the development of software-tools for detecting cerebral palsy (CP) in young infants (Adde et al., 2010). If succesful, this project’s ambition of using micromotion to control interactive systems may have a transformational impact on how we use tomorrow’s technologies.

Published July 10, 2016 1:29 PM - Last modified Dec. 18, 2019 1:41 PM