An exploration of the effects of musical and social factors in piano duo collaborations

M. Blank, Jane Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to explore the ways in which musictradition, sociocultural issues and interpersonal dynamics interact during theproduction of a music performance. Since the small body of existing research inmusic groups has been carried out on string quartets and larger ensembles, thecurrent study looked into the relationship of a musical dyad in the form of thepiano duo. The duo was used in preference to the piano duet as the duo uses twoseparate instruments. This usage gave a unique perception of ‘equality’ (no-oneliterally ‘on top’) and enabled the duo to be considered as a musical group, albeitin miniature. The ‘one-to-one’ personal and professional relationships thatoccurred were also considered. A survey of interview data from 27 pianistsrepresenting 17 different duos revealed that the partnership has two distinctaspects: the socio-emotional and the professional. Leadership issues, conflict andmethods of compromise were recognized and dealt with by using well-establishedguidelines in order to ensure the continuing existence of the duo. Genderappeared to have an influence on the socio-emotional relationship with both menand women exhibiting behaviours that are sex-stereotypical. However, in all theimportant matters of organization, administration, repertoire choice, interpretation,rehearsal and performance, a ‘musical androgyny’ seems to exist thatcombines the best skills of each sex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-248
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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