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Journal Article

Audience synchronies in live concerts illustrate the embodiment of music experience


Wald-Fuhrmann,  Melanie       
Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Tschacher, W., Greenwood, S., Ramakrishnan, S., Tröndle, M., Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Seibert, C., et al. (2023). Audience synchronies in live concerts illustrate the embodiment of music experience. Scientific Reports, 13: 14843. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-41960-2.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-C9C1-6
A study of 132 audience members of three classical public concerts (all three staged the same chamber music pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, Brett Dean, and Johannes Brahms) had the goal of analyzing the physiological and motor responses of audiences. It was assumed that the music would induce synchronous physiology and movement in listeners (induction synchrony). In addition to hypothesizing that such synchronies would be present, we expected that they were linked to participants’ aesthetic experiences, their affect and personality traits, which were assessed by questionnaires before and after the concerts. Clear evidence was found of physiological synchrony (heart rate, respiration rate, skin conductance response) as well as movement synchrony of the audiences, whereas breathing behavior was not synchronized. Thus the audiences of the three concerts resonated with the music, their music perception was embodied. There were links between the bodily synchrony and aesthetic experiences: synchrony, especially heart-rate synchrony, was higher when listeners felt moved emotionally and inspired by a piece, and were immersed in the music. Personality traits were also associated with the individual contributions to induction synchrony.