Playing “Air Instruments”: Mimicry of Sound-Producing Gestures by Novices and Experts

  • Rolf Inge Godøy
  • Egil Haga
  • Alexander Refsum Jensenius
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3881)


Both musicians and non-musicians can often be seen making sound-producing gestures in the air without touching any real instruments. Such “air playing” can be regarded as an expression of how people perceive and imagine music, and studying the relationships between these gestures and sound might contribute to our knowledge of how gestures help structure our experience of music.


Musical Training Approximate Nature Musical Sound Auditory Scene Analysis Musical Object 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bregman, A.S.: Auditory Scene Analysis. The Perceptual Organization of Sound. The MIT Press, Cambridge (1990)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Godøy, R.I., Jørgensen, H. (eds.): Musical Imagery. Swets and Zeitlinger, Lisse (2001)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cadoz, C.: Musique, geste, technologie. In: Genevois, H., de Vivo, R. (eds.) Les nouveaux gestes de la musique, pp. 47–92. Editions Parenthèses, Marseille (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cadoz, C., Wanderley, M.M.: Gesture-music. In: Wanderley, M.M., Battier, M. (eds.) Trends in Gestural Control of Music [CD-ROM]. IRCAM, Paris (2001)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Haueisen, J., Knösche, T.R.: Involuntary motor activity in pianists evoked by music perception. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 13(6), 786–792 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sudnow, D.: Ways of the Hand. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1978)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mikumo, M.: Encoding strategies for pitch information. In: Japanese Psychological Monographs, vol. 27. The Japanese Psychological Association (1998)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rocchesso, D., Fontana, F. (eds.): The Sounding Object. Edizioni di Mondo Estremo, Firenze (2003)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liberman, A.M., Mattingly, I.G.: The motor theory of speech perception revised. Cognition 21, 1–36 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Browman, C.P., Goldstein, L.: Articulatory gestures as phonological units. Phonology 6, 201–251 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fadiga, L., Craighero, L., Buccino, G., Rizzolatti, G.: Speech listening specifically modulates the excitability of tongue muscles: a TMS study. European Journal of Neuroscience 15, 399–402 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hickok, G., Buchsbaum, B., Humphries, C., Muftuler, T.: Auditory-motor interaction revealed by fmri: Speech, music, and working memory. Area Spt. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 15(5), 673–682 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rizzolatti, G., Arbib, M.A.: Language within our grasp. Trends in Neuroscience 21, 188–194 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    McNeill, D.: Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal About Thought. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1992)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kita, S.: How representational gestures help speaking. In: McNeill, D. (ed.) Language and Gesture, pp. 162–185. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Berthoz, A.: Le sens du mouevement. Odile Jacob, Paris (1997)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rizzolatti, G., Fogassi, L., Gallese, V.: Neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the understanding and imitation of action. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2, 661–670 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jeannerod, M.: Neural simulation of action: A unifying mechanism for motor cognition. Neuroimage 14, 103–109 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mandelbrojt, J.: Les cheveux de la réalité. Editions Alliage (avec le soutien de la Fondation de France), Nice (1991)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gero, J.S., Tversky, B. (eds.): Visual and Spatial Reasoning in Design. Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition. University of Sydney (1999)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wohlschläger, A., Gattis, M., Bekkering, H.: Action generation and action perception in imitation: an instance of the ideomotor principle. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B358, 501–515 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Chopin, F.: Scherzo no. 2 in B flat minor op. 31. Ivo Pogorelich, piano. Deutsche Grammophon 439 947-2Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Scriabin, A.: Sonata no. 5 op. 53. Håkon Austbø, piano. Simax PSC 1055Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    van Beethoven, L.: Beethoven Concertos pour piano 1 and 3. A la decouverte des Concertos. Francois-Rene Duchable, piano, John Nelson, conductor, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris [DVD]. Harmonia Mundi (2003)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Messiaen, O.: Regard des Anges, from Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jesus. Håkon Austbø, piano. Naxos 8.55089-30Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Jarrett, K.: Tokyo 1984 Encore. The Last Solo [DVD]. Image Entertainment (1984)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jensenius, A.R., Godøy, R.I., Wanderley, M.M.: Developing tools for studying musical gestures within the Max/MSP/Jitter environment. In: Proceedings of the International Music Computer Conference, Barcelona, September 5-9 (2005)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf Inge Godøy
    • 1
  • Egil Haga
    • 1
  • Alexander Refsum Jensenius
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MusicologyUniversity of OsloBlindern, OsloNorway

Personalised recommendations