An emotional response to new music

On 30th November, I had the pleasure of working with Federico Reuben and Hauke Egermann on their latest experiment looking at an audience's emotional response to new music. A test audience was gathered who were not musicians and had not been exposed to new music before. They were connected to electronic equipment designed to measure their heart rate and sweat response, and were then exposed to a ‘concert’ of seven new music pieces for solo piano. The programme included: Ligeti’s Musica Ricercata and Arc-en-ciel; Stockhausen’s Klavierstück VII; Lachenmann’s Guero; George Crumb’s A Little Suite for Christmas; Steve Martland’s Snapshot and Finnissy’s Our Love Is Here To Stay from his Gershwin arrangements. With the disallowance of applause due to the electronic equipment and the atmosphere of the room being rather clinical, it was a strange experience with some moments feeling very exposed. I enjoyed performing the pieces to a new audience and felt there were many moments of total engagement. It will be very interesting to see what the results will be. Here is a video with more information.

Kate Harrison-LedgerComment