On the Characterization of Expressive Performance in Classical Music: First Results of the Con Espressione Game
Sprache des Titels:
Proceedings of the 21th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2020)
A piece of music can be expressively performed, or interpreted, in a variety of ways. With the help of an online questionnaire, the Con Espressione Game, we collected some 1,500 descriptions of expressive character relating to 45 performances of 9 excerpts from classical piano pieces, played by different famous pianists. More specifically, listeners were asked to describe, using freely chosen words (preferably: adjectives), how they perceive the expressive character of the different performances. In this paper, we offer a first account of this new data resource for expressive performance research, and provide an exploratory analysis, addressing three main questions: (1) how similarly do different listeners describe a performance of a piece? (2) what are the main dimensions (or axes) for expressive character emerging from this?; and (3) how do measurable parameters of a performance (e.g., tempo, dynamics) and mid- and high-level features that can be predicted by machine learning models (e.g., articulation, arousal) relate to these expressive dimensions? The dataset that we publish along with this paper was enriched by adding hand-corrected score-to-performance alignments, as well as descriptive audio features such as tempo and dynamics curves.