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The Band

How do musicians in a band keep up with each other? Believe it or not there is a scientific explanation to how it works! A study was performed at McMaster University’s LIVELab. They wanted to find out "How musicians coordinate with each other to perform expressive music that has changes in tempo and dynamics?”

To conduct this study the researchers asked a Chamber Music Trio to be fitted with motion capture markers so their motions could be tracked as they played happy and sad music showing musical expression. They were also tracked once playing the music without expression. The researchers applied mathematical equations to the movements and evaluated how each musician correlated with the others.

The study found that when the musicians were playing the expressive music they were able to predict the movement of their band mates and were in sync with each other. When the musicians played expressionless music, they were not able to accurately predict the movements of their band mates, therefore they did not synchronize as well.

The study shows we can measure communication of emotion between musicians by analyzing their movements in detail. This concept can be used in other applications as well, such as communication between non-verbal patients and their nurses or family members.

McMaster University. "How musicians communicate non-verbally during performance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2019 <>.

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