Drs. Amy Belfi (Psychological Science) and David Samson (ALP) recently published their CSTS-funded work investigating how audience members respond to live versus recorded concerts. This project, entitled Aesthetic Judgments of Live and Recorded Music: Effects of Congruence Between Musical Artist and Piece, was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology in a Special Research Topic Area focused on the role of music during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In their work, which was conducted in collaboration with Jonathan Crane of West Point Military Academy and Nick Schmit (S&T ’20, biochemical engineering), Belfi and Samson asked one group of participants to attend a joint live concert between the S&T Bands and the 399th Army Band from Fort Leonard Wood. A second group of participants watched a video recording of the concert alone in a laboratory setting.
During the concert, participants rated their enjoyment of four musical pieces, one U.S. patriotic piece and one non-patriotic piece by each band. The researchers sought to answer two questions: 1) Do people report enjoying the music more during a live concert than a recorded concert? 2) Do people enjoy music more when it “fits” with the band playing it? Their results indicated little difference in enjoyment between the live and recorded settings. Additionally, Belfi and Samson found a strong effect of “congruency,” meaning that participants preferred music that “fit” with the band: they enjoyed patriotic music more when it was played by the army band and the non-patriotic music more when it was played by the S&T band. Overall, these results have important implications for music-making during and after the COVID-19 pandemic as artists work to replicate the live concert experience online. Most encouraging, the results indicate that listeners can experience pleasure even while viewing a pre-recorded concert, suggesting that some elements of the live experience can be faithfully replicated virtually.
Link to the paper: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.618025/full
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