|Title||Assessment and direction through nonlexical vocalizations in music instruction|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Assessments, Music, Instructions|
|Journal||Research on Language and Social Interaction|
Musicians commonly make use of vocalizations in order to represent, rather than describe, a melody or musical phrase. The present study considers the role these “semantically empty” vocalizations play in the situated activity of music instruction. Data from video recordings of a clarinetist and his instructor demonstrate that these vocal representations are used for two distinct actions: assessment and direction. In assessments, the vocalizations take the form of quotations; what was previously played is reenacted through voice and other embodied modalities to highlight and comment on facets of the performance. In direction, rather than quoting what has occurred previously, the vocalization is used to demonstrate how the music should be played, and so directs the recipient to make changes to his future performances. The study of how these vocalizations are used for these two actions reinforces the need for the continued study of multimodal communication practices as an interactional tool.