The adjudication of six performances of a Chopin Etude: A study of expert knowledge

William Forde Thompson, C. T.Patrick Diamond, Laura Lee Balkwill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


We illustrate a technique for eliciting and exploring the constructs involved in the adjudication of music performance. Five trained musicians with extensive experience in performance adjudication evaluated six expert performances of Chopin's Etude, Opus 25, No. 6. First, we elicited from each adjudicator the personal constructs that they used to evaluate performance expression. Next, adjudicators rated each performance on each of their constructs. Adjudicators also rated each performance for overall preference. Constructs most strongly associated with overall preference related to right-hand expression and phrasing. Other constructs, such as tempo, were important for distinguishing performances, but were not strongly associated with overall preference. We discuss benefits of the technique for researchers, adjudicators and performers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-174
Number of pages21
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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