Index of content:
Volume 106, Issue 1, July 1999
- MUSIC AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS 
A microcosm of musical expression. III. Contributions of timing and dynamics to the aesthetic impression of pianists’ performances of the initial measures of Chopin’s Etude in E Major106(1999); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.427078View Description Hide Description
Four judges repeatedly assessed the overall aesthetic quality of more than 100 recorded performances of the opening of Chopin’s Etude in E major on a 10-point scale. The judgments, which exhibited reasonable reliability and modest intercorrelations, were entered into regression analyses with 16 independent variables derived from earlier objective analyses of the expressive timing and dynamics of the performances [Repp, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104, 1085–1100 (1998); 105, 1972–1988 (1999)]. Only between 9% and 18% of the variance in the judges’ ratings was accounted for. By contrast, timing variables accounted for 53% of the variance in one judge’s ratings of synthesized performances that varied in timing only and mimicked the timing patterns of the original performances. These results indicate, first, that the aesthetic impression of the original recordings rested primarily on aspects other than those measured (such as texture, tone, or aspects of timing and dynamics that eluded the earlier analyses) and, second, that very different patterns of timing and dynamics are aesthetically acceptable for the same music, provided that other, aesthetically more crucial performance aspects are present.