BRAMS – CRBLM Lecture Series: Postdoc Presentation by Dr. Felipe Verdugo
Physiological, mechanical, and music-related features of pianists’ gestures
Abstract: Piano performance involves different levels of motor abundancy: similar piano tones might be produced by an unlimited quantity of motion possibilities of all the body segments integrating the kinematic chain. Due to motor abundancy and the aesthetic and cultural factors underlying composers and performers’ artistic work, several approaches to piano performance currently coexist. According to a specific approach to piano performance developed at Université de Montréal, pianists might both reduce risks of practice-related injuries and facilitate the embodiment of the expressive content of music by using elliptic upper-limb movements as well as motion and muscular activity of the pelvis and the thorax. Building on the experiential knowledge of this approach, an ongoing research project investigates pianists’ gestures from a multi-disciplinary perspective, integrating fields such as biomechanics, acoustics, music technology, and music performance. This project aims to produce scientifically-grounded knowledge that might serve as a complement to the existing experiential knowledge of pianists and pedagogues in order to foster future development and dissemination of healthy, efficient, and music-oriented motion strategies. In this lecture, I will present methods and results from several studies carried out in the context of the mentioned project. These studies address issues such as joint contribution to finger and hand velocities, variability of both pianists’ kinematics and muscular activity, muscular fatigue during repetitive excerpts, and relationships between muscular activity and musical tension.
Short Bio: Felipe Verdugo pursues a diversified career as a pianist, pedagogue, and researcher. He obtained his Doctor of Music degree at University of Montreal (UdeM), where he teaches piano performance as a lecturer since 2016. He is currently attached as a postdoctoral fellow at the CIRMMT (McGill University) and the EXPRESSION team (Université Bretagne-Sud, France) thanks to a postdoctoral scholarship from both the SSHRC and the FRQSC. Interested in the biomechanical features of piano performance in the context of his doctoral research, he worked in 2018 and 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratoire de simulation et modélisation du movement (École de kinesiologie et des sciences de l’activité physique, UdeM). He has performed among others as a soloist with the Orchestre de l’Université de Montréal after winning first prize at UdeM concerto competition and has presented his research work in lectures and lecture-recitals at international conferences such as the London International Piano Symposium (UK). In addition, he completed a Master’s degree in political science at Université du Québec à Montréal and was awarded the Institut de recherche en économie contemporaine prize for the best 2018 Master’s thesis.