Musicians execute their performances better when the non-verbal sensorimotor communication between conductor and musician is maximized, according to research published May 9 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
The researchers, led by Luciano Fadiga of the University of Ferrara and the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Italy, measured the kinematics of violinists and conductors by monitoring the movements of their bows and batons, respectively, while they played a piece of music by Mozart.
Music experts also evaluated each performance. Based on these data, the author confirmed that the performance was considered higher quality when the movements of the conductor and musicians were more closely correlated.
The authors suggest that this correlation reflects the leadership of the conductor, and that a conductor with stronger leadership qualities can produce better musical output because the players will follow him or her more closely
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D'Ausilio A, Badino L, Li Y, Tokay S, Craighero L, et al. (2012) Leadership in Orchestra Emerges from the Causal Relationships of Movement Kinematics. PLoS ONE 7(5): e35757. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035757