Ensemble Performance

ELAINE GOODMAN

Communication: aural and visual signals • The information communicated between ensemble performers is primarily aural and visual. • Aural communication is more important than visual. .

• The individual’s concentration is divided into two. • Come into play as ensemble performers to try to predict and respond to signals or cues relayed by fellow musicians.Aural Communication • Need to be able to hear each other for the purpose of coordination. the basis of aural awareness. • Ensemble performers also might be able to predict each other’s physical actions on . • Continually listen to the expressive nuances of sound emanating from fellow performer.

. performer might find it harder to ‘suppress’ their individual expressive idea in order to blend with the overall sound. • After individual practice.• The ensemble might react to changes in sound by compensating for each other’s action. • Caroline Palmer writes that ‘lack extensive practice with a particular piece should result in more control of expressive features than in well-practiced performances.

• Similarly. . strategies developed in ensemble rehearsal might become less easy to adjust during performance because musicians are unable to deviate from their plans.

or who makes eye contact with whom following a large pause. • The coordination of sound can be assisted by the planning of visual signals – for instance.Visual Communication • Ensemble performer can also communicate ideas about expression to one another using body language. . hence through visual channel. by determining who gives the leading at the beginning of the piece.

• Research shows that visual feedback ‘contributes significantly to both the accuracy and the expressive. . so they are hardly aware of visual signals relayed in performance.• The physical movements are mutually absorbed at an unconscious level over a period of time. of cooperative performance’. freedom.

but when the character comes into contact with others in the play. .The Role of Individual • The performer in a music ensemble plays a role similar to that of the actor in a drama. • Each musicians stamps the ensemble with his or her own identity. it changes not least through the pacing and delivery of lines. • An actor develops a sense of character on his or her own. but also tries to blend in with the group.

• Individual do not necessarily experience similar things when performing together or posses shared ideas about a performance. • The individual perfomer’s realization of the music can be affected in different ways by interaction with co-perfomers. Expressive features might becomes constrained or enhanced or might simply be maintain at a similar level. they retain quite separate identities. At the same time. instead . . the individual musician can preserve patterns of expression.

.• Overall. or give and take. musician do not necessarily forfeit their own ideas when performing in an ensemble because the individual’s role is one of negotiation.