Towards a Computational Model of Performance Expression: The GERM Model

Patrik N. Juslin*, Anders Friberg+, & Roberto Bresin+
*Department of Psycology - Uppsala University
Box 1225 - 751 42 Uppsala, Sweden
+Department of Speech, Music and Hearing - Royal Institute of Technology
Drottning Kristinas väg 31 - 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
{roberto, andersf} -


This paper presents a computational model of expression in music performance-The GERM model. The purpose of the GERM model is to (a) describe the principal sources of variability in musical performance, (b) emphasize the need to integrate different aspects of music performance into a common model, and (c) provide some preliminaries (germ = a basis from which a thing may develop) for a computational model that simulates the different aspects. Drawing on previous research on performance, the authors propose that expression in performance derives from four primary sources of variability, namely (1) Generative Rules that function to convey the musical structure in an appropriate manner (e.g., Clarke, 1988; Friberg, 1995; Palmer, 1989); (2) Emotional Expression governed by the performer's expressive intention (e.g., Juslin, 1997); (3) Random Fluctuations reflecting internal timekeeper variance and motor variance (e.g., Shaffer, 1982; Wing & Kristofferson, 1973); and (4) Movement Principles dictating that particular aspects of the performance should be shaped in accordance with biological motion (e.g., Friberg & Sundberg, 1999; Shove & Repp, 1995). A preliminary version of the GERM model was implemented by means of computer synthesis. Synthesized performances were recorded and evaluated in listening tests. The results from these preliminary listening tests are presented, and implications for future research are discussed.

Paper presented at the Meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Evanston, USA, August 14-17, 1999.

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