Tapping the plate or hitting the bottle: Sound and movement in self-accompanied and musician-accompanied dance

Paul Howard Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Unravelling correspondences between musical sounds and dance movements can lead to insights into the selection and development of culturally modified sensory, motor and perceptual capacities. Gaining these insights requires the development of holistic methodologies to analyse sound and movement concomitantly. The cultural training of performers and their inter-subjective dynamics orient the interactions between sound and movement in any performance genre. As an entry point into considering the intimate entanglement of music and dance, this article opens with an account of the direct correspondences between sound and movement in Afro-Brazilian stick-dancing before analysing the more obscure relationships between sound and movement in West Sumatran plate-dancing. The rhythmic swinging of hand-held plates can be accompanied by tapping sounds created by dancers or by musicians. Differences between the timing of movement-related sounds in self-accompanied and musician-accompanied plate-dancing reveal how humanly organised expression is shaped by the interplay of bodily skill, perceptual processes and cultural experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-228
Number of pages21
JournalEthnomusicology Forum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Music
  • Dance
  • Perception
  • Action
  • Choreomusicology
  • Minangkabau

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