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L’influence des mouvements posturaux des violoncellistes sur leur expressivité musicale

Abstract : The musician’s body is often deeply forgotten in the traditional instrumental pedagogy. In the case of bowed-string instrumentalists, the attention is required to be paid on the fingers’ dexterity at the left hand or the bow accuracy at the right hand, like preliminary and mandatory conditions for musical expressivity. However, just by observing the play of great violinists or cellists, we can realize that they use postural movements more or less consciously, which are far away from their purely instrumental gestures involved in the sound production. What would be thus the function of these corporeal movements? If they visually contribute to make a performance more lively, we actually don’t know their influence on the perceived expressive acoustical features, such as the musical phrasing or the sound quality. In this thesis, we try to bring some response elements by investigating the cellists’ ancillary movements and their influence on the musical expressivity. On the gesture side, we focuse on the chest and head displacements, which are the most salient visually but also the most essential for the cellist’s motor planning [Alexander 1974]. On the acoustical side, we focuse on the two principal means of producing musical expressivity : the rhythmic and the timbre [Gagnepain 2001]. This investigation takes place within various areas implying different perspective levels : Instrumental pedagogy [Hoppenot 1981], musician’s posture [De Alcantara 2000], cellist’s physiology [Mantel 1995], and more globally musical embodiement [Leman 2007]. The influence of postural movements on the musical expressivity is assessed by the means of four postural conditions affecting the cellists’ sensori-motor mechanisms : A standard playing condition and three gradual immobilization constraints (mental, physically immobilized by the chest, and finally by the chest and the head). Within each postural session, the bow playing mode (short Détaché or large Légato) is chosen as a studying factor of the crossed relationships between sound and movement. The first part of the thesis highlights the relationships between the cellist’s postural movements and their rhythmical expressivity. It appears that the coordination between posture and movement of a cellist is optimal with a good postural-cinetic capacity, which allows to keep the balance by resisting to bow expansions. The natural symbiosis between the musician and his cello also turns out to be a key factor for the metric and rhythmic cohesion between trunk ancillary gestures and instrumental bowing. The rhythmical unbalance caused by the absence of postural movements is particularly repeatable during passages requiring a good motor coordination between the two arms. The discomfort felt is assessed stronger in the bowing mode Détaché, which coincides with a bigger uniformity in speed modulations and inter-note timbre colors. The second part of the thesis is dedicated to the detailed exploration of the timbre for a note frequently harshnessed within the postural constraint by chest and head. We succeed to show that this acoustical degradation is linked with a weakest bow speed and a narrower gesture of the instrumental right arm. By tracing back to the central body parts, we highlight the importance of the spine torsion and the right shoulder opening for the sound quality. The whole of these works support flexibility in the postural movement freedom for producing a balanced and expressive play.
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Contributor : Jocelyn Roze <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 1:39:21 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 4:42:44 PM


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Jocelyn Rozé. L’influence des mouvements posturaux des violoncellistes sur leur expressivité musicale. Acoustique [physics.class-ph]. Cnrs, 2017. Français. ⟨tel-01738268⟩



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