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MICRO - Human Bodily Micromotion in Music Perception and Interaction

How and why does music make us move? This project will investigate how music influences what we may call micromotion, such as the tiny motion observed when people try to stand still.

About the project

This project seeks to investigate the close couplings between musical sound and human bodily micromotion. Micromotion is here used to describe the smallest motion that we are able to produce and experience, typically at a rate smaller than 10 mm/s. The last decades have seen an increased focus on the role of the human body in both the performance and the perception of music. Up to now, however, the micro-level of these experiences has received little attention. This project will investigate music-related micromotion of people experiencing music (perceivers), with an aim of contributing to:

  • knowledge about how musical sound influences human motion at the micro-level. This will be based on literature studies, theoretical modelling, and a longitudinal observational study as well as three large-scale experiments of sound-motion relationships.
  • a large, annotated and metadata-rich database of the micromotion recordings mentioned above. The database will be central to the current project, and will also be made available for future research in the field. 
  • conceptual models and software tools for using micromotion to control musical sound in computer-based systems. Such musical microinteraction can be used for music performance or production, or for "active listening".

The project will be based on recent theories of embodied music cognition, combining musical phenomenology with new models from cognitive neuroscience. Methodologically, the project will span widely, from introspection and discussion in small groups to statistical analysis of motion capture recordings and development of new interactive music systems.


Tags: musicology, music technology, music cognition, embodiment
Published July 4, 2016 11:16 AM - Last modified Feb. 6, 2017 04:09 PM


Alexander Refsum Jensenius
+ 47 22 84 48 34


The Project is financed by The Research Council of Norway.


2016 - 2020

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