During a musical performance, musicians constantly monitor and adjust their playing. What they hear inevitably depends on the acoustics of the room in which the performance takes place. This thesis investigates the interaction between musicians and room acoustics. Of principal interest are baroque musical performances with a historically informed interpretation played in historical versus modern spaces. This thesis takes place within the EVAA (Experimental Virtual Archaeological-Acoustics) project, which is dedicated to exploring the acoustics of historical spaces and their function within culture using novel and experimental methods.
An experiment was undertaken in which musicians (flutists, violists, and theorbists) played several pieces in two real spaces (the Salon des Nobles from the Château de Versailles and the amphitheater from the Cité de la Musique) and in their virtual counterparts. The virtual spaces were based on a virtual reality system developed within the framework of the EVAA project, for which a novel auralization architecture was implemented. An analysis of the musicians’ experiences revealed that their playing depends somewhat on the acoustics of the room and also revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the virtual reality system.
A significant portion of the manuscript is devoted to the analysis of musical performances resulting from this experiment. Two primary approaches were undertaken: the first uses a somewhat typical framework relying on low-level features, and the other relies on objective measures derived from musicological principles to highlight higher-level features. The first approach revealed some differences in objective measures as a function of the room, but the second approach made it possible to identify in which dimensions of baroque interpretation the performances differed.
Finally, a listening test was carried out to verify that the differences in playing style, revealed by the objective performance measures in the two rooms, were audible and were in agreement with the measures. In this test, musically educated listeners rated recordings within several aesthetic musical parameters. The comparison between the objective performance measures and the listener ratings revealed fairly good agreement among the flute performances, while for the violists, this agreement was inadequate. This difference between the instruments shows that the influence of the room on historically informed performance of the musicians is relatively subtle, and that there is still room for further investigation within this domain.
Composition du jury :
- Malte Kob (Detmold Hochschule für Musik, Rapporteur)
- Mathieu Paquier (Université de Brest, Rapporteur)
- Mitsuko Aramaki (Université d’Aix Marseille, Examinatrice)
- Théodora Psychoyou (Sorbonne Université, Examinatrice)
- Catherine Lavandier (CY Cergy Université, Directeur de thèse)
- Brian FG Katz (Sorbonne Université, Directeur de thèse)
- Marguerite Jossic (Musée de la musique, Invitée)