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

Project on Applause

Applause appears to be a fundamental need on the part of listeners and spectators, but despite the simple procedure involved in clapping, the phenomenon is highly complex. This project is focused on the normative and affirmative potential contained in clapping, together with its capacity to generate a sense of community. [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]

Experimental Concert Research

The research project, supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, investigates aesthetic experience in a classical concert within a interdisciplinary multi-method setting, [...]


Participation in the concert hall

This line of projects investigates how participatory aspects of a performance influence the (aesthetic) experience of the audience members. It is a highly interesting and special case of audience research as certain rules – in a classical concert those that the audience is quiet, sits and gives no feedback – are suspended. [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]