About the MGM project

Motion Gesture Music
Investigating movement and gesture in music performance and perception

Music moves us, not just metaphorically, but also through the body. The project investigates the role of motion in composition and performance of music, and the way movement carries meaning and becomes gesture, which shapes our understanding of music.

In music and performance research, the focus has shifted away from the score towards the body. Psychology of music is investigating how physical movement influences our perception of music. Much research is done to measure and identify movements and their expressive characteristics, yet in the field of music composition methods to work with the concept of gesture are missing. In live-electronic styles, however, using gestures has become a standard practice.

The goal of the project is to develop analysis methods that enable the identification of gestures in composition and performance. Artistic practice is joined by three academic disciplines. Psychological research identifies gesture categories that inform music-perception. Music Technology uses motion data to recognise and categorise gestures in an automated way. And Music Analysis builds a framework for gestures classification in composition and performance.

The project contributions occur in these three domains. They extend the concepts in music psychology by categorisations, extends the predominant approach in music analysis by adding gesture as a foundational category and provides tools and methods for automated gesture analysis.
The project results benefit musicians situated at the intersections of art and science. The project provides a conceptual framework used to analyse musical works from a variety of styles, which again profits students in the domains of electro-acoustic composition, live-electronic performance and even media-arts.

These are the people involved in the project.

This project was Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant Nr. No. 100016_149345) and ran from 1. January 2014 to 29. February 2016.