Relationship between Movements to Music (Category 3) and Movements due to Music (Category 2)
When singing, the main movements of the performer that produce sound are those needed to press breath through the vocal chords and change the shape of the whole vocal tract. All other movements could be seen as more or less superfluous, or at least arbitrary. No one can sing without breathing, but many people can sing with nearly no movement of the arms. The way in which the arms are moved during singing, that I have named as category 3, movements to music, creates a specific relation between the performing body and the sound.  There is no connection between them, which could be discovered directly, as is the case with for example the shape of the mouth. A specific mouth position will form the sound in a certain way; opening the mouth as far as possible will, for example, force a singer to make an ‘a’ sound, as in far. It is impossible to sing another vowel, such as ‘i’, as in ring. The sound (in this case the text that is spoken or sung) is dictating the way to move and the movements are therefore due to the sound. This kind of constrained relationship cannot be found in movements to music. The same song can be sung by two singers, with each using totally different body language. This does not imply that the body language does not have any influence on the sound that results. As has been mentioned above, musicians need these movements for their performance practice and without them their performance would sound different. All of these movements, whether they are made due to the music or to the music, happen in the same body. The performing musician does not often differentiate between them and these categories of movements are intertwined in a very complex way. At the same time, the movements a musician consciously exercises are mostly movements due to the music, not movements to the music. A violinist exercises their scales, to develop technique, respectively their ability to make movements due to the music. They will not exercise the movements made, for example, by the torso or the face during the performance, in the same way. These movements are seen more as a physical expression of the music played, a corporeal reaction to it rather than an essential bodily movement to achieve a sound. For the audience these movements to the music seem to give visual cues about the emotions of the performer and are therefore part of the final perception of a performance. One of the most obvious proofs of the influence of these movements on the music can be found in the statements of audience members, who have said they cannot stand the movements of a certain performer and so close their eyes.
These visual cues to be observed in music performances are an essential part of the performer’s identity. If a singer is performing using a microphone for the amplification of their voice, it is obvious that the microphone should be close to the mouth during singing. To observe the way in which different singers perform with microphones is to note the remarkable number of ways of handling a microphone. In fact, every singer has their own way of holding the microphone and bringing it to their mouth. Although arm movement also plays an important role in singing without a microphone, microphones add an extra dimension to these movements. The audience knows that the voice will be barely audible and sound quite different as soon as the microphone is away from the mouth. Therefore, the movement of bringing the microphone to the mouth clearly signals that the singer will soon start to sing, to make music. It is a very powerful movement, since it visually illuminates a process that previously has been mostly invisible. The way the microphone is brought to the mouth is often used by the singer as a visual cue to imply his or her relationship to what he or she is going to sing.
For example, due to these movements the microphone often seems to become a subject for whom the singer is singing. In such cases the microphone can be seen as the general ear of the audience, into which the performer sings softly, holding it in both hands and moving it gently. At other moments, the microphone is much more a counterpart; the singer pulls it to the mouth and screams through it. This movement of bringing the microphone to their mouth underlines the way they going to sing through it and is therefore a category 2 movement, a movement due to the music, it is compulsory for the musical sound. At the same time the way the microphone is brought to the mouth, fast or slow, with one hand or two, if the microphone is taken down again during the song or not, is more a category 3 movement, since it is not directly shaping the final sound result. In general, bringing the microphone faster or slower to the mouth will not change the final sound result; because most singers will not start to sing if the microphone is not close to the mouth. The speed of the movement is therefore a visual cue. This might seems like a paradox, but in fact it just reveals once again, how interleaved these categories are. A part of the movement belongs to category 2, another part to category 3 or to clarify; exactly the same movement can be part of category 2 in one situation or in category 3 in another situation. Just bringing the microphone to the mouth for example, as mentioned above, without singing into it would transform the movement, described above as part of category 2, into a category 3 movement, since it has not influenced the final sound result. This becomes explicit, when we have a look at performances where the microphone is not a visual presence anymore. This is the case with headsets. Performers wearing headsets do so because they do not want the audience to notice they are using amplification. These ‘invisible’ microphones are therefore often used when singers are performing something else than purely music. In some cases, there movements should not imply that they are involved in singing a song, but just acting naturally. This is the case in theatre plays and musicals, when it is necessary to conceal their microphone to act a certain role, which entails singing as well as speaking. In other cases they are worn by performers that carry out complicated choreographies, which are not related to category 3 movements on the music, since they are self-contained and autonomous movements. The situation is no longer focused on the performance of music but on other theatrical action.