Musical communication of flutists in ensemble performance

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Thais Fernandes Santos
Aluizio Barbosa De Oliveira Neto
Mauricio Alves Loureiro


Background. Several empirical studies have shown that performer’s musical intentions are conveyed through manipulations of acoustic parameters. Therefore, during ensemble performance, musicians need to coordinate their musical ideas, through manipulation of different parameters.

Aims. This paper aims to discuss timbre modification, due to coupling interpretation of ensemble performance. We compared the sound quality of solo performances of orchestral excerpts played by professional flutists, with their own performances when following clarinet and bassoon playing the same excerpt in unison. In this study, timbre was represented by two of the descriptors discussed by McAdams and colleagues, the logarithm of attack time and spectral centroid. Note segmentation, end of attack and beginning of release were determined using the Expan tool developed in previous studies.

Results. We were able to observe that flute players tend to modify their timbre when following clarinet and bassoon with different tendencies for each instrument.

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