Analyzing Temporal Flexibility in Collective Musical Practices
This research project pursues some of the questions addressed in the ANR project "Musical improvisation and Collective Action" on a new front. The goal is now to focus more specifically on forms of musical coordination that are not limited to simple synchronization, or to put it another way, on the whole field of temporal coordination that extends beyond synchronization. In a large number of practices, musicians exhibit temporal flexibility, both "vertical" flexibility (maintaining behaviors that are, at least to some extent, temporally independent of each other) and "horizontal" flexibility (breaking previously established synchronization patterns in order to modify the common tempo). In doing so, this project proposes to resolve, in part, the tension that may exist between the cognitive sciences of joint action—which have often used music as an experimental paradigm but have systematically considered it from the perspective of synchronization—and the empirical musicology of musical performance. This empirical musicology has largely examined the multiple forms of temporal flexibility (rubato, swing, groove, etc.) but has not yet truly examined the mechanisms that make this flexibility possible.
By combining case studies (analyses, ethnographic surveys) and laboratory experiments, the aim is to analyze these mechanisms and thereby shed light on our disposition to flexibility when we act together. This project is done in collaboration with the Social Mind and Body Group of Central European University (directed by Natalie Sebanz and Günther Knoblich).
IRCAM Team : Analysis of Musical Practices