Musical coordination in a large group without plans nor leaders

Article


Goupil, L., Saint-Germier, P., Rouvier, G., Schwarz, D. and Canonne, C. 2020. Musical coordination in a large group without plans nor leaders. Scientific Reports. 10 (Art. 20377). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77263-z
AuthorsGoupil, L., Saint-Germier, P., Rouvier, G., Schwarz, D. and Canonne, C.
Abstract

A widespread belief is that large groups engaged in joint actions that require a high level of flexibility are unable to coordinate without the introduction of additional resources such as shared plans or hierarchical organizations. Here, we put this belief to a test, by empirically investigating coordination within a large group of 16 musicians performing collective free improvisation—a genre in which improvisers aim at creating music that is as complex and unprecedented as possible without relying on shared plans or on an external conductor. We show that musicians freely improvising within a large ensemble can achieve significant levels of coordination, both at the level of their musical actions (i.e., their individual decisions to play or to stop playing) and at the level of their directional intentions (i.e., their intentions to change or to support the music produced by the group). Taken together, these results invite us to reconsider the range and scope of actions achievable by large groups, and to explore alternative organizational models that emphasize decentralized and unscripted forms of collective behavior.

JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation10 (Art. 20377)
ISSN2045-2322
Year2020
PublisherSpringer Nature
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77263-z
Publication dates
Online23 Nov 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted09 Nov 2020
Deposited23 Nov 2020
FunderAgence Nationale de la Recherche
Horizon 2020
Copyright holder© 2020 The Authors
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