Dear friends and colleagues,

I am pleased to invite you to the public defense of my PhD thesis, entitled:

“Gesture in Samba - a cross-modal analysis of dance and music from the
Afro-Brazilian culture”

The public defense will be realized at the Paarse zaal, Zebrastraat
32, Gent, (Belgium) on Monday, January 10th, at 16:00. There will be a
reception following the event.

I’ve prepared a short video about the thesis, available here:

Best wishes and a great 2011 for everybody,

Luiz Naveda

Gesture in Samba: A cross-modal analysis of dance and music from the
Afro-Brazilian culture

Music and dance cannot be easily dissociated in the culture of the
Afro-Brazilian samba. Together, these experiences convey a sort of
unified gesture, or cross-modal gesture, which is acquired and
performed through sound, movement and other modalities. In this study,
we investigate how this gesture is modeled through sound and movement
and how the interdependence between these modalities has influenced
samba music and samba dances.

Starting from commercial audio excerpts and field recordings, we
demonstrated that samba is characterized by particular micro-timing
deviations, as well as an unclear configuration of periodicities in
the metrical structure of music. From motion capture and video
recordings of dance, we developed methods that allow the description
of gestures in terms of shapes and spatiotemporal reference frames.
The applications of these methods to data-sets of motion capture
recordings of samba dances show that the musical meter is indeed
strongly represented in the gestures and in the dance space. In
addition, we argue that the metric signature of samba music may
actually be dependent on the metric structure of dance.

The research shows that the sounding structure of samba cannot be
fully understood without taking into consideration the role of the
human body and the structure of dances. However, characteristic models
of samba dances and music are beyond invariant properties of
repetitive gestures or rhythm motives. More research is needed in
order better understand the involvement of cultural factors in the
structure of dances and music forms.

Promotor: Prof. Dr. Marc Leman

Reading committee:
Prof. Dr. Ir. Mauricio Alves Loureiro
Prof. Dr. Ir. Leon Van Noorden
Prof. Dr. Katharina Pewny
Dr. Dirk Moelants
Ir. Todor Todoroff

Examination committee:
Prof. Dr. Marc Leman
Prof. Dr. Francis Maes
Prof. Dr. Maxilliaan Martens
Prof. Dr. Christel Stalpaert
Prof. Dr. Ir. Leon Van Noorden
Prof. Dr. Katharina Pewny
Dr. Dirk Moelants

Ghent University
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Department of Art, Music and Theater Studies
IPEM -Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music
Blandijnberg 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

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