Of all the subskills that make up music performance, the ones associated with emotional communication are often viewed as the most elusive. They go right to the core of why people engage in musical behavior, either as performers or as listeners. The performance of a piece of music is crucial in shaping its emotional expression. Thus, the emotional impact of particularly expressive performers — for example, C. P. E. Bach, Niccolò Paganini, and Jimi Hendrix — has always been a source of great fascination. This chapter illustrates how psychological research on emotional communication in music performance might contribute to the development of more efficient teaching strategies aimed at the expressive aspects of performance. First, it summarizes relevant research. Then, it describes a framework for organizing the findings. Finally, it considers how theory and research on expression might inform day-to-day teaching practice.
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