Embodied Metre in Spontaneous Movement to Music
Listening to music is often associated with spontaneous body movements, frequently synchronized with its periodic structure. The notion of embodied cognition assumes that intelligent behavior does not emerge from mere passive perception, but requires goal-directed interactions between the organism and its environment. According to this view, one could postulate that we use our bodily movements to help parse the metric structure of music. The aim of the study was to investigate how pulsations on different metrical levels are manifested in spontaneous movement to music. Participants were presented with a piece of instrumental music in 4/4 time, played in five different tempi ranging from 92 BPM to 138 BPM. They were instructed to move to the music, and their movements were recorded with an optical motion capture system. Subsequently, methods of signal processing and Principal components analysis were applied in order to extract eigenmovements synchronized with different metrical levels. We found differences between metric levels in terms of the prevalence of synchronized eigenmovements. For instance, mediolateral movements of arms were found to be frequently synchronized to the tactus level pulse, while rotation and lateral flexion of the upper torso were commonly found to exhibit periods of two and four beats, respectively. The results imply that periodicities on several metric levels are simultaneously present in spontaneous movement to music. This could suggest that the metric structure of music is encoded in such spontaneous movements. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009 
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