Taxonomy of Expressive Performance

  • Guerino Mazzola
Part of the Computational Music Science book series (CMS)


Performance structure describes a semiotic fact: expression of meaning by shaping of score data. These expressive semantics are classified according to the three layers of reality captured by the topographic cube: Psychic, physical, and mental (see Section 2.4). The first one means that performance expresses emotions, the second one deals with expression of gestural contents, and the third one—the musicologically most interesting one—aims at giving one's understanding of the musical text a rhetoric expression. In a realistic performance, all three expressive semantics will participate, however, a theory of expressive semantics must first of all deal with the “pure” types which are, each in its own way, difficult subjects of ongoing research. We will not deal with the psychological, cognitive or neurophysiological esthesic aspect of performance since this is part of music psychology and would exceed our subject.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guerino Mazzola
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MusicUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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