Marc Leman

Marc Leman is Methusalem Research Professor in Systematic Musicology at Ghent University and the author of Embodied Music Cognition and Mediation Technology (MIT Press).

  • The Expressive Moment

    The Expressive Moment

    How Interaction (with Music) Shapes Human Empowerment

    Marc Leman

    A new way to understand expressive interaction, focusing on the dynamic, fast, pre-reflective processes underlying interactions with music.

    The expressive moment is that point in time when we grasp a situation and respond quickly, even before we are aware of it. In this book, Marc Leman argues that expression drives this kind of interaction, and he proposes a general framework for understanding expressive interactions. He focuses on the dynamic, fast, and pre-reflective processes underlying our interactions with music—whether we are playing an instrument, dancing, listening, or using new interactive technologies. Music offers a well-established domain for studying these fast and interactive processes, and Leman argues that understanding the power of expressive interaction through music may help us understand cognitive processing in other domains, including language, human action coordination, human-animal interaction, and human-machine interaction.

    Leman regards expressive interactions with music as energizing and empowering. He argues that music is based on patterns that intervene with a reinforcing loop in the human brain, strengthening learning, motivation, and reward. He argues further that the reinforcing effect is influenced by the interaction flow, by fast processes that handle expressive qualities on the fly.

    Leman sets out the framework in which expressive interaction is situated, describing, among other things, a pragmatic model of communication in which the fundamental components are enactment and dynamics. He looks in more detail at the cognitive-motivational architecture, discussing sensorimotor and motivational schemes. Finally, he discusses applications for the concepts behind expressive motivation in such fields as sports, entertainment, rehabilitation, multimedia art, and music education.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00
  • Embodied Music Cognition and Mediation Technology

    Embodied Music Cognition and Mediation Technology

    Marc Leman

    A proposal that an embodied cognition approach to music research—drawing on work in computer science, psychology, brain science, and musicology—offers a promising framework for thinking about music mediation technology.

    Digital media handles music as encoded physical energy, but humans consider music in terms of beliefs, intentions, interpretations, experiences, evaluations, and significations. In this book, drawing on work in computer science, psychology, brain science, and musicology, Marc Leman proposes an embodied cognition approach to music research that will help bridge this gap. Assuming that the body plays a central role in all musical activities, and basing his approach on a hypothesis about the relationship between musical experience (mind) and sound energy (matter), Leman argues that the human body is a biologically designed mediator that transfers physical energy to a mental level—engaging experiences, values, and intentions—and, reversing the process, transfers mental representation into material form. He suggests that this idea of the body as mediator offers a promising framework for thinking about music mediation technology. Leman proposes that, under certain conditions, the natural mediator (the body) can be extended with artificial technology-based mediators. He explores the necessary conditions and analyzes ways in which they can be studied. Leman outlines his theory of embodied music cognition, introducing a model that describes the relationship between a human subject and its environment, analyzing the coupling of action and perception, and exploring different degrees of the body's engagement with music. He then examines possible applications in two core areas: interaction with music instruments and music search and retrieval in a database or digital library. The embodied music cognition approach, Leman argues, can help us develop tools that integrate artistic expression and contemporary technology.

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00