Eastern Oregon University > Academics > Arts, sciences meet in EOU faculty research

Arts, sciences meet in EOU faculty research

Pianists and biomechanics: Arts, sciences meet in EOU faculty research

April 16, 2021 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The arts and biomechanics collide when Health and Human Performance professor Darren Dutto presents his colloquium at 4 p.m., April 22 via Zoom

The research opportunity fell into Dutto’s lap when he was on sabbatical from Eastern Oregon University a few years ago. Paired with professors from other universities, Dutto took on the task of analyzing the relationship between a musician’s gestures or body movement and a viewer’s perception of the performance quality. 

Well-trained pianists participated in the study. They were asked to think about specific things as they played. Dutto and his collaborators recorded each performance using motion capture, from which they conducted analysis of the performer’s motion.  

“So we took the recordings and had them ranked, an independent group ranked the recordings for which one was best, worst, etc., and then we matched up what the pianist played with what they were thinking with their movements,” Dutto said. 

In his colloquium, Dutto covers the relationship between pianists’ gestures and movement and what they were asked to focus on while they’re playing with what was perceived to be the best performance. 

This mix of the arts and science is in more than just his research. Dutto often exposes his students to this idea in science classes and acknowledges that it is important to find ways to intertwine all areas of study. 

“As somebody who has come out of science, I think it’s really relevant, especially at an institution that wants to have a liberal arts component that we find ways to merge science and art,” Dutto said. 

Tune in to Dutto’s colloquium at 4 p.m. on April 22 via Zoom. Learn more about EOU colloquium at eou.edu/colloquium

By PR Intern Emily Andrews