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Facial Expressions and Emotional Singing: A Study of Perception and Production with Motion Capture and Electromyography

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-21, 16:19 authored by Frank A Russo, Steven R Livingstone, William Forde Thompson
Facial expressions are used in music performance to communicate structural and emotional intentions. Exposure to emotional facial expressions also may lead to subtle facial movements that mirror those expressions. Seven participants were recorded with motion capture as they watched and imitated phrases of emotional singing. Four different participants were recorded using facial electromyography (EMG) while performing the same task. Participants saw and heard recordings of musical phrases sung with happy, sad, and neutral emotional connotations. They then imitated the target stimulus, paying close attention to the emotion expressed. Facial expressions were monitored during four epochs: (a) during the target; (b) prior to their imitation; (c) during their imitation; and (d) after their imitation. Expressive activity was observed in all epochs, implicating a role of facial expressions in the perception, planning, production, and post-production of emotional singing.