News report: Researcher tests role of visual information in assessing musical performance.
Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay, behavioral scientist and classical pianist, discovers that participants – including highly trained musicians – were better able to identify the winners of competitions by watching silent video clips than by listening to audio recordings.
What? Did I read that correctly? Winners or music competitions were identified more easily by visual rather than auditory cues?
The results of Dr. Tsay’s study highlight our natural, automatic, and nonconscious dependence on visual cues. The dominance of visual information emerges to the degree that it is overweighted relative to auditory information, even when sound is consciously valued as the core domain content.
What does this mean for performing musicians? How can the artist help the audiences hear the music being performed? How can a performer incorporate the look of music in his/her performance?
- The use of live camera feeds of our “work” as performers draws the audience into the music as they see and experience how the sounds are created by the artist.
- The inclusion of projected images during a performance can take the listener to places and eras not part of the concert venue helping them hear the music in the context in which it was created.
Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea, organ and multi-media events presented by Dr. Jeannine and David Jordan, exemplify the best of the look and sound of live performance. Both events are presented on cinematic-sized screens via projected live camera feeds of Dr. Jordan’s organ performance and narration of captivating stories against the backdrop of continuously changing contextual visuals.