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- ItemWhat about performers do free jazz improvisers agree upon? A case study(Frontiers Media, 2017) Pras, Amandine; Schober, Michael F.; Spiro, NetaWhen musicians improvise freely together-not following any sort of script, predetermined harmonic structure, or "referent"-to what extent do they understand what they are doing in the same way as each other? And to what extent is their understanding privileged relative to outside listeners with similar levels of performing experience in free improvisation? In this exploratory case study, a saxophonist and a pianist of international renown who knew each other’s work but who had never performed together before were recorded while improvising freely for 40 min. Immediately afterwards the performers were interviewed separately about the just-completed improvisation, ﬁrst from memory and then while listening to two 5 min excerpts of the recording in order to prompt speciﬁc and detailed commentary. Two commenting listeners from the same performance community (a saxophonist and drummer) listened to, and were interviewed about, these excerpts. Some months later, all four participants rated the extent to which they endorsed 302 statements that had been extracted from the four interviews and anonymized. The ﬁndings demonstrate that these free jazz improvisers characterized the improvisation quite differently, selecting different moments to comment about and with little overlap in the content of their characterizations. The performers were not more likely to endorse statements by their performing partner than by a commenting listener from the same performance community, and their patterns of agreement with each other (endorsing or dissenting with statements) across multiple ratings—their interrater reliability as measured with Cohen’s kappa—was only moderate, and not consistently higher than their agreement with the commenting listeners. These performers were more likely to endorse statements about performers’ thoughts and actions than statements about the music itself, and more likely to endorse evaluatively positive than negative statements. But these kinds of statements were polarizing; the performers were more likely to agree with each other in their ratings of statements about the music itself and negative statements. As in Schober and Spiro (2014), the evidence supports a view that fully shared understanding is not needed for joint improvisation by professional musicians in this genre and that performing partners can agree with an outside listener more than with each other.
- ItemDo we really want to keep the gate threshold that high?(2021) Brooks, Grace; Pras, Amandine; Elafros, Athena; Lockett, MonicaDrawing upon the survey instruments of Lewis and Neville , Nadal , and Yang and Carroll , we conducted an online survey that captured experiences of discrimination and microaggressions reported by 387 recording engineers, producers, and studio assistants living in 46 different countries. Our statistical analyses reveal highly significant and systemic gender inequalities within the field, e.g., cisgender women experience many more sexually inappropriate comments (p < e-14, large effect size) and unwanted comments about their physical appearance (p < e-12, large effect size) than do cisgender men, and they are much more likely to face challenges to their authority (p < e-13, large effect size) and expertise (p < e-10, large effect size). A comparison of our results with a study about women’s experiences of microaggressions within STEM academia  indicates that the recording studio workplace scores 33% worse on the silencing and maginalization of women, 33% worse on gender-related workplace microaggressions, and 24% worse on sexual objectification. These findings call for serious reflection on the part of the community to progress from awareness to collective action that will unlock the control room for women and other marginalized groups of studio professionals.