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Empirical methods in the study of music performance : an interdisciplinary history.

Clayton, Martin (2020) 'Empirical methods in the study of music performance : an interdisciplinary history.', in Investigating musical performance : theoretical models and intersection. London: Routledge, pp. 9-24. Musical cultures of the twentieth century.


This chapter aims to present a comparison, addressing in particular the place of ‘empirical’ methodologies intended as those involving the analysis of quantitative performance data describing for instance timing, pitch, loudness or movement in both disciplines. For some researchers in both ethnomusicology and historical musicology, the empirical investigation of performance has long been an essential element of the serious study of music. The chapter outlines brief histories of empirical methods in historical musicology and ethnomusicology, respectively; in both cases I go into more detail on a selection of sources relating to rhythm and timing, which help to highlight some of the reasons for the disciplinary divergence. Despite the seminal studies of Binet and Courtier, Sears and others around the turn of the last century, the empirical study of musical performance and the integration of musicological and psychological perspectives would seem to have barely begun before Seashore.

Item Type:Book chapter
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Investigating musical performance : theoretical models and intersection on 21 May 2020, available online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:17 March 2020
Date of first online publication:21 May 2020
Date first made open access:21 November 2021

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