Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Audiences Identify Top Orchestras by Appearance More Than Sound

To enrich the visual appeal of symphony concerts, orchestras have experimented with a range of tactics: adding video screens to concert halls that show live close-ups of the conductor and soloist; ditching tuxedos in favor of more modern garb; or projecting video effects and silent films during a performance.
Some of these experiments may reach new converts but they also provoke an inevitable backlash: looks shouldn't matter when assessing the musical excellence of a symphony orchestra, the detractors argue.

But a new study may provide some fresh evidence to those who believe that an orchestra performance is as much a visual experience as an auditory one. Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay and a research team at University College London last week published a study which found that when it comes to judging a performance, audiences are just as likely to focus on an orchestra’s stage presence as its musical prowess. more