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World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound (Read 1264 times)

Offline faulty_damper

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World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
« on: March 04, 2014, 09:10:09 PM »
Here's another article about the power of sight over sound.  How an orchestra looks while performing is more important than the actual sound produced.

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Both professional musicians and musical novices are better at identifying top-ranked orchestras from non-ranked orchestras when shown silent video footage, suggesting that such judgements are driven at least in part by visual cues about group dynamics and leadership.

When shown two 6-second clips, one from a world-class orchestra ranked among the top ten internationally -- which included the London Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra -- and another from a regional or university-based group, participants were more likely to choose correctly when shown video-only footage than when played audio clips.

Separate research published in 2013 found that observers overlook the degree to which visual cues can affect the judgement of music performance when assessing individual musicians.
Now through a series of six experiments, with 1,062 expert and novice participants, researchers have found that the same principles apply to the rapid judgement of group performances, such as those of orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Dr Chia-Jung Tsay (UCL Management Science and Innovation), author of the study said: "It was surprising that providing even a subset of visual information -- the sight of just one musician -- allowed participants to identify the outcomes of ensemble competitions, and at a higher rate than achieved by participants given both the visuals and sound of the entire group.

"Chamber ensembles and professional musicians may say that the ultimate groups astound their members and their listeners. Yet the mere presence of sound in the recordings actually detracted from the predictive power of video-only recordings. This research suggests that the ultimate music ensemble astounds not its listeners but its viewers."

One of the experiments investigated the importance of visual cues in assessing symphony orchestras. In each clip, the designated leaders were not visible, allowing for a closer investigation of the influence of group dynamics on performance judgement.

Participants scored significantly better than chance, with 64% identifying the top-ranked orchestra from silent video footage. However, when given sound-only clips, this fell to 53%.
Dr Tsay discussed: "Some orchestras have implemented blind auditions as part of efforts to reduce the effects of various biases, but the results of this research suggest that musicians chosen through blind auditions are not necessarily those who are chosen through live-round competitions.

"Since much of music is experienced live, and visual information appears to dominate judgment -- it is likely that audiences may face a disconnect when they attend live performances of musicians who were chosen through blind auditions."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303083917.htm

Offline iansinclair

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Re: World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
«Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 09:55:47 PM »
Weelll... Maybe so, but I ha'e me doots.  Six seconds is way too short to judge the quality and ability of a musical performance.  I would be very much inclined to wonder just what was being judged.
Ian

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
«Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 10:12:44 PM »
Six seconds is used because it has been found in past research that it is all that is needed to make accurate judgements.  Any longer, 30 seconds or even the entire clip, has found not to have significantly better predictive power.  That's why six second clips are used.

Offline j_menz

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Re: World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
«Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 10:41:30 PM »
Six seconds is used because it has been found in past research that it is all that is needed to make accurate judgements. 

For the record, it took me waaay less than that as regards the original post.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline vladimir_gouldowsky

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Re: World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
«Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 05:01:15 AM »
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Offline j_menz

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Re: World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
«Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 05:16:52 AM »
I think its possible that people are better identifying good orchestras by sight.

I believe the reason is that good ensemble playing is highly correlated with visual cues like synchronized movements.  (The bowing of an elementary school string section is usually far more erratic than the military like precision of the Berlin Philharmonic).  It's reasonable to believe that good orchestras almost always are more synchronized and for whatever reason laymen find this a more accurate cue than the sounds alone.

I've only seen one orchestra with completely uncoordinated bowing. Mostly I can't say I notice such things, but this one didn't even try and was noticeably all over the place.

I didn't need to see that, though, to recognise that I was not in the presence of greatness.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
«Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 08:06:44 AM »
I think its possible that people are better identifying good orchestras by sight.

I believe the reason is that good ensemble playing is highly correlated with visual cues like synchronized movements.  (The bowing of an elementary school string section is usually far more erratic than the military like precision of the Berlin Philharmonic).  It's reasonable to believe that good orchestras almost always are more synchronized and for whatever reason laymen find this a more accurate cue than the sounds alone.

This is doubtful.  Once subjects experienced both audio and visual, they were worse at identifying orchestras than just visual alone.  It may simply be that the orchestras exuded more confidence while performing which is what the subjects saw.

Offline vladimir_gouldowsky

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Re: World-class orchestras judged by sight, NOT sound
«Reply #7 on: March 05, 2014, 04:54:17 PM »
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