Towards the influence of space & environment on a musical performance

James Edward Armstrong


Within Environmental Psychology, our surroundings have been widely acknowledged to
influence human behaviour. However, research has yet to establish an adequate scholarly
discourse surrounding the impact of one’s environment on musical performance, highlighting a
large gap in current understanding. In this paper, I outline the methodology and early findings of an
ongoing Ph.D. research project. The project investigates performance behaviour in three
environments: firstly, the physical environment; secondly, a simulated representation of the
environment within a recording studio, and, thirdly, the environment and acoustical characteristics
of the studio itself. The method used expands upon previous research by Sato (2011), Brereton
(2011), and Ueno (2010) into the effects of room acoustics on musical performance.
The study has indicated that performances are affected by the emotional influences of an
environment in addition to its acoustical characteristics. This research offers composers,
performers, and studio engineers a greater understanding of the interrelationship between
performer and environment, encouraging the use of physical and simulated spaces as a
performance tool. Increased attention to the role of space upon performance meets the need for a
better understanding within environmental psychology of how environments are experienced and
perceived aurally.


music performance; audio recording; environmental psychology; performance analysis

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