University of Cambridge > > CRASSH > Seminar Series: Where do we go when we play? Attention, embodiment, and ensemble performance

Seminar Series: Where do we go when we play? Attention, embodiment, and ensemble performance

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Using a psychological study on body language in ensemble performance and poet Wayne Koestenbaum’s essay on playing the piano (mostly) alone as our starting points, we will discuss the relationship between musical experience and attention, effort, presence, co-presence, and absence. How much does intention matter when we play, and how is intentionality formed and shared when we play with others? How does our perception of the performance as public (“for others”) or private (“for ourselves”) change our presence and participation? In blurring the borders of the individual mind, does musical experience create assemblage or a kind of absence, or both?

This event series aims to reflect on how distributed models of cognition apply to, and change our perception of, musical engagement. Growing interest in music-making practices outside the normative, and ideally sterilised, settings of the concert hall and the studio has already highlighted the extent to which ‘musicking’ creates living, distributed assemblages out of performers, listeners, instruments, and architectural spaces. In each session of the series, the academics, performers, and practitioners interviewed will share their reflections on the way the language and insights of distributed cognition engage and enrich models of aural encounter in fields such as music performance, environmental studies, history, religious studies, and literature.

This talk is part of the CRASSH series.

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