Repetition of a piece on a concert programme is a well-established, but uncommon performance practice. Musicians have presumed that repetition benefits audience enjoyment and understanding but no research has examined this. In two naturalistic and one lab study, we examined audience reaction to repeated live performances of contemporary pieces played by the same ensemble. In all studies, we asked listeners to rate their enjoyment and willingness to hear the piece again (Affective), and perceived understanding and predicted memory of the piece (Cognitive). In Study 3, we assessed immediate recognition memory of each excerpt. In all studies, Cognitive variables increased significantly. Affective reaction also increased except for one piece that was well liked at first hearing. Memory performance was low and not related to predicted memory, nor increased after a second hearing. Being informed or not had no systematic effect on reaction. Audience and performer reaction was mixed. We discuss the implications for musical directors when considering repeat performances.
Halpern, Andrea R.; Chan, Chloe H.K.; Müllensiefen, Daniel; and Sloboda, John. "Audience Reactions to Repeating A Piece on A Concert Programme." Participations (2017) : 135-152.