chapter  1
16 Pages

Empirical methods in the study of music performance

An interdisciplinary history
WithMartin Clayton

This chapter aims to present a comparison, addressing in particular the place of ‘empirical’ methodologies intended as those involving the analysis of quantitative performance data describing for instance timing, pitch, loudness or movement in both disciplines. For some researchers in both ethnomusicology and historical musicology, the empirical investigation of performance has long been an essential element of the serious study of music. The chapter outlines brief histories of empirical methods in historical musicology and ethnomusicology, respectively; in both cases I go into more detail on a selection of sources relating to rhythm and timing, which help to highlight some of the reasons for the disciplinary divergence. Despite the seminal studies of Binet and Courtier, Sears and others around the turn of the last century, the empirical study of musical performance and the integration of musicological and psychological perspectives would seem to have barely begun before Seashore.