Embodied Knowledge in Ensemble Performance: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Embodied Knowledge in Ensemble Performance

1st Edition

By J. Murphy McCaleb


160 pages

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Paperback: 9781138269767
pub: 2016-10-19
Hardback: 9781472419613
pub: 2014-03-07
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315094540
pub: 2017-07-05
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Performing in musical ensembles provides a remarkable opportunity for interaction between people. When playing a piece of music together, musicians contribute to the creation of an artistic work that is shaped through their individual performances. However, even though ensembles are a large part of musical activity, questions remain as to how they function. In Embodied Knowledge in Ensemble Performance, Murphy McCaleb explores the processes by which musicians interact with each other through performance. McCaleb begins by breaking down current models of ensemble interaction, particularly those that rely on the same kind of communication found in conversation. In order to find a new way of describing this interaction, McCaleb considers the nature of the information being shared between musicians during performance. Using examples from postgraduate ensembles at Birmingham Conservatoire as well as his own reflective practice, he examines how an understanding of the relationship between musicians and their instruments may affect the way performers infer information within an ensemble. Drawing upon research from musicology, occupational psychology, and philosophy, and including a DVD of excerpts from rehearsals and performances, Embodied Knowledge provides an holistic approach to ensemble research in a manner accessible to performers, researchers and teachers.


'…the book is exemplary in its scholarship and an invaluable addition to the literature on musical performance' Scottish Journal of Performance

'Embodied Knowledge in Ensemble Performance is clearly and logically written and draws upon an impressively broad range of research and literature to form the premise for the author’s proposed paradigm of ensemble interaction. McCaleb strongly establishes his contention that ensemble performance is distinct from other social paradigms due to music being a singular form of procedural knowledge'. Philosophy of Music Education Review

'… a timely and valuable contribution to this ever-expanding field… The greatest contribution of McCaleb’s paradigm of inter-reaction is the emphasis placed on the crucial role of embodied knowledge in shaping ensemble performance, which other frameworks have not accounted for. Future work in the field will benefit from this framework and the new directions set forth here. With a clear structure, careful introduction to its various concepts, and great depth of inquiry, this is an essential text for scholars of all levels with an interest in ensemble performance'. Musicae Scientiae

About the Author

J. Murphy McCaleb received his doctorate in performance studies from Birmingham Conservatoire after studying trombone performance and chamber music at the University of Alaska and the University of Michigan. A bass trombonist and pianist, Murphy lectures and is Programme Leader for Creative Industries at Kidderminster College.

About the Series

SEMPRE Studies in The Psychology of Music

The theme for the series is the psychology of music, broadly defined. Topics include (i) musical development at different ages, (ii) exceptional musical development in the context of special educational needs, (iii) musical cognition and context, (iv) culture, mind and music, (v) micro to macro perspectives on the impact of music on the individual (from neurological studies through to social psychology), (vi) the development of advanced performance skills and (vii) affective perspectives on musical learning. The series presents the implications of research findings for a wide readership, including user-groups (music teachers, policy makers, parents) as well as the international academic and research communities. This expansive embrace, in terms of both subject matter and intended audience (drawing on basic and applied research from across the globe), is the distinguishing feature of the series, and it serves SEMPRE’s distinctive mission, which is to promote and ensure coherent and symbiotic links between education, music and psychology research.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Musical Instruments / General