Communicating Phrasing Structure with Multi-modal Expressive Techniques in Pianists’ Performance

This paper explores the multi-modal information generated by live piano performance, their interactions with each other and their relationship to the musical information contained in the score, namely the phrasing structure. Six performances of two Chopin solo piano pieces by professional pianists are recorded through MIDI, audio and video capture. Expressive parameters such as tempo, dynamics and physical gestures are extracted and compared within the context of structure of the first piece, Chopin’s prelude in A major op.28 no.7. Discovering a pattern for each pianist within these parameters as they approach known phrase endings in the piece, we then look at the opening of the ambiguously structured Chopin B flat minor sonata finale op.35. Using these performance capture and analysis techniques, we can extract phrasing interpretations from each pianists’ performance to shed light on the structure of this problematic piece.