Methods for studying music-related body motion

Alexander Refsum Jensenius

Based on: Jensenius, Alexander Refsum. Methods for Studying Music-Related Body Motion. In Handbook of Systematic Musicology, edited by Rolf Bader, 567–80. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2018.

music-related ≠ musical

  • performers: musicians, conductors and dancers, ...

  • perceivers: concert audience, dancers, spontaneous movers, ...

perceiver ≠ listener

(musical experiences are multimodal and embodied!)

Some questions to consider

  • Aim: why is music-related motion interesting in this study?

  • Subjects: who and how many subjects will be studied?

  • Motion: what type of motion is expected, and in which parts of the body?

  • Environment: will the study be carried out in a "controlled" environment (such as a lab) or in an "ecological" setting (such as a concert hall)?

  • Artefacts: will there be any instruments, tools or other types of technologies used in the setup, and how will they be captured and synchronised?

  • Audio: what type and quality of sound recording is needed?

  • Video: what type of video recording is needed?

  • Data handling: how will the different types of data be synchronised?

  • Analysis: what type of analysis is planned?

Analysis types

Descriptive analysis:

  • kinematics: velocity or acceleration
  • spatial features: size and position in the room
  • temporal features: frequency components

Functional analysis:

  • sound-producing
  • sound-modifying
  • sound-accompanying
  • communicative

Qualitative analysis methods



Overview of all the categories in the Laban Movement Analysis


  • Space (direct-indirect)

  • Time (quick-sustained)

  • Weight (strong-light)

  • Flow (bound-free)

Quantative Analysis Methods

Se other presentation!