Concert Research

A concert offers a framework for live-events which are dedicated to the presentation and (joint) experience of music and operate with a clear-cut distinction between performer and audience roles.
We propose that the concert – and especially the very influential, wide-spread and restrictive concert of Western art music – represents a promising object for empirical aesthetics. In the focus of our research is the aesthetic experience: how is music in the concert experienced, by the musician, the composer and the audience members? What are the constituents of aesthetic experience in art music concerts? And what effects do the instituted social norms and forms of action have on the various agents’ (composer, performers, audiences) experiences?
This research will also inform fundamental research on aesthetic experience per se.
We employ and evaluate methods that allow access to individual features of aesthetic experience during a concert, ranging from questionnaires and interviews to physiological and behavioural measures. We conduct studies in the ‘ArtLab’ and in the field, in concert halls and performance venues. For research concerts we also cooperate with institutional partners, especially from the Frankfurt area, such as the Ensemble Modern and the Frankfurter Museumsgesellschaft.

Current projects

Experimental Concert Research

The research project, supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, investigates aesthetic experience in a classical concert within an interdisciplinary multi-method setting, together with our cooperation partners Hauke Egermann (York), Martin Tröndle (Friedrichshafen), Wolfgang Tschacher (Bern) and Folkert Uhde (Berlin). [more]



Applause appears to be a basic and natural need on the part of listeners and spectators, but despite the very simple procedure involved in clapping, the phenomenon is highly complex. Applause can demonstrate the most varied things and, in an essential way, bridge over gaps—to the extent they exist—between the stage and public at any sort of performance. [more]

Musical Facial Expression and Gesture

This project is focused above all on the different functions and effects of facial expressions and gestures in the reception of a concert performance. An empirical study, it is aimed particularly at gaining knowledge concerning the value of facial expressions and gestures for understanding music, for the quality of musical experience, and for the general assessment of a musical performance. [more]

Participation in the concert hall

Participatory performances are fashionable at the moment, even in the realm of classical music. But what happens with the audience members once they become participants? How does this change their experience of the music and the concert?
This practice-oriented research is a special case of audience research as certain rules [more]

SAMPLE – Situated Aspects of Musical Practice in a Longitudinal Examination

In the last years, research on joint music performance has adopted a situated perspective and challenged traditional cognitivist approaches. The importance of pre-reflective, dynamic, and enacted processes in relation to higher-order processes involving mental representations has been emphasized. [more]

SAME – Situated Aspects of Musical Experience

This project addresses the audience in a series of research concerts. With audience members ranging from newcomers to connoisseurs, it investigates the dimensions of their musical experiencing during the concerts by collecting self-reports with questionnaires and behavioral data. Hereby, a main focus lies on embodied and distributed aspects of musical experiencing. [more]