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Durham University



Publication details for Dr Laura Leante

Fatone, Gina A., Clayton, Martin, Leante, Laura & Rahaim, Matt (2011). 'Imagery, melody and gesture in cross-cultural perspective'. In New Perspectives on Music and Gesture. Gritten, Anthony & King, Elaine Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. 203-220.

Author(s) from Durham


Musical action is also physical action. This is obvious in cases such as moving the
arm to direct a bow across a cello string, turning the hand to control the vibrations
of a drumhead or inclining the cartilages of the larynx to raise the pitch of a sung
note. In addition to producing sound, however, physical motion can also serve as
a means of conceiving and conveying music: motion is linked in turn to visual
imagery and other aspects of the conceptualization of music. Auditory, motor,
visual and conceptual counterparts may be integrated, generating a unified
meaningful action. In this chapter we present some examples of such crossmodal
phenomena in the context of music and gesture: we discuss, for instance,
ways in which visual information in the form of gestures contributes to the way
musical performance is experienced, and how mental images of spaces, actions
and object motion – co-presented in physical gestures – can influence the way
music is performed and play an important role in teaching. The chapter, therefore,
locates physical gesture within a complex of cross-modal actions associated
with musical performance and transmission. We present four approaches to analysing relationships between musical sound and
gesture in the performances and teaching of individual musicians. Three of these
studies are drawn from the world of North Indian vocal music, the fourth
comes from the world of bagpipe music in Atlantic


Series: SEMPRE Studies in The Psychology of Music