The gradual emergence and establishment of performance studies as a ‘musicological discipline in its own right’ (Rink 2004: 37) over the last two decades has coincided with ground-breaking discoveries in contemporary neuroscience that challenged the long-standing Cartesian model of the relationship between the body, mind and the brain. For more than three centuries, the philosophy of Descartes, which radically separated the mind – and with it consciousness – from the body and the world, shaped much of Western sciences and humanities, and their epistemological foundations. Accordingly, the activities of thinking and knowing have been predominantly conceived as taking place in a disembodied mind,1 and essentially through rational-discursive processes, which represented the presumed pinnacle of human essence. Because of their evident connection with the body, affective phenomena – including feelings, emotions, and moods – remained at the periphery of this epistemological landscape. Until recently, body

and affect stood as antagonists to reason and cognition. Research carried out since the early 1990s by such neuroscientists as Antonio Damasio (1994, 1999, 2003), Joseph LeDoux (1996, 2002) and Alain Berthoz (1999, 2000) has shown that cognitive processes are fully embodied, depending on the input of not only the brain but of the whole body. It is through our bodies that we perceive, experience and come to know the world. Moving the body into central stage, recent scientific research has also prepared the grounds for the placement of affective phenomena on a par with cognition within the epistemological background of social sciences and humanities. We now know that feelings and emotions are necessary for the proper functioning of our cognitive faculties, which include reasoning, reflecting, deliberating and decision-making (Damasio 1994: xiii), and that affect is part of an information-processing system, a way of knowing the world. Each cognitive process has an affective counterpart, and both kinds of processes are neurologically intertwined with representations of bodily processes and states in the brain. These findings constitute the empirical pillars of much of the recent research in cognitive sciences where the separation of mind and body, of perception and action, and of consciousness and the world has given way to an embodied, enactive and ecological perspective on the nature of the human subject (Bermudez et al. 1995; Clark 1997).2