New Master Thesis: Freestyle Dressage: an equipage riding to music

catherineI am happy to announce that the dissertation of one my master students has just been made available in the DUO archive:

Catherine wrote about the importance and influence of music in freestyle dressage. Most of my students are working on more music technological topics, and I can clearly say that supervising Catherine was both fun and a great learning experience for myself. I now know much more about horses and riding and music than I did before.

Here is Catherine’s own abstract for the thesis:

This thesis is a study of freestyle dressage as a specific case of music related movement. Freestyle dressage is performed by horse and rider in competitions, and is ridden with music. The music is a part of the performance and music and movement is supposed to be related. The aims of the thesis is to (a) shed light on what influence the music has on the equipage (b) how this affect the audience and judges (c) whether the synchronicity between horse and rider is real or imagined. The symbiosis of what we hear and see is what makes the performance spectacular, but it is also the reason why we very quickly sense when something is not synchronized. These strong links between sound and movement is something the audience is aware of, but do we still get spellbound? This thesis tries to reveal to what degree our senses presume that events are synchronous, and at the same time tries to establish whether the music and movements are related. The thesis is divided into three parts, the first part is theoretical and the two following are both empirical. The methods used here are a literature study and an empirical study with qualitative analysis of relationships between motion and sound and interviews of a selected group of people with different backgrounds. The thesis concludes that the music does make a difference to the audience and the rider. The rider has to pay attention to the music and the audience gets a spectacular show when music is part of the freestyle dressage program.