Familiarity and musical performance

Dogantan-Dack, Mine (2013) Familiarity and musical performance. In: Music and familiarity: listening, musicology and performance. King, Elaine and Prior, Helen M, eds. SEMPRE Studies in the Psychology of Music . Ashgate, pp. 271-287. ISBN 9781409420750. [Book Section]


One of the basic hypotheses in psychology is that familiarity, or past experience with and prior knowledge about given phenomena, play a crucial role in human cognition and emotion. Over the last several decades, music psychology has provided abundant evidence that familiarity in this sense is also at the root of our cognition of and affective responses to music. This chapter explores the relationship between familiarity as a psychological phenomenon and musical performance. It argues that familiarity merges generic knowledge about the way things usually are in the world and situated knowledge derived from one’s exposure to particular social and cultural practices. It is argued that conceptualizing familiarity such that it retains its explanatory value in relation to musical performance necessitates laying down certain specifications concerning cultural context, perspective, level of expertise, etc. Since there are multiple ways of coming to know a piece of music, studying the role of familiarity in performance also requires specifying the nature of the process through which familiarity has been attained. It is also hypothesized that while practice remains the primary activity through which performers get familiar with a piece, learning to perform it effectively does not come to an end in the practice room: performers continue to learn on stage, through live performances. The chapter presents the author’s Alchemy project as a case study to further discuss how this kind of familiarity with a piece, which is a prerequisite for elite performance, is acquired on stage through live performances.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 11743
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Teddy ~
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 08:16
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:28
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/11743

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