The Role of Anticipatory Auditory Imagery in musical ensemble performance was investigated by examining the relationship between individual differences in auditory imagery and temporal coordination in piano duos. Vividness of imagery for upcoming sounds was assessed in 14 pianists using a task that required the production of rhythmic sequences with or without auditory feedback. Ensemble coordination was assessed by examining temporal relations between body movements (recorded by a motion capture system) and sound onsets (triggered by key strokes on two MIDI pianos) in seven duos playing two contrasting pieces with or without visual contact. Sound synchrony was found to be related to anterior-posterior body sway coordination in a manner that depended upon leader/follower relations between pianists assigned to 'primo' and 'secondo' parts. Furthermore, the quality of coordination, which was not affected markedly by whether pianists were in visual contact, was correlated with individual differences in anticipatory auditory imagery. These findings suggest that auditory imagery facilitates interpersonal coordination by enhancing the operation of internal models that simulate one's own and others' actions during ensemble performance.
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