Alexandra Pierce helps musicians gain a richer understanding of music through the use of the body and gesture. She asserts that expression of character and affect in music corresponds to expression of character and affect in physical gesture. She seeks to answer the question, "What is vitality in music?" and to find answers that contribute to hearing and performing this core quality of music in order to help musicians integrate them into daily practice. Pierce's approach is to isolate and explore through movement such elements of music as melody, beat, and structural levels. Short narratives that illustrate how performance practice problems can be approached and solved are scattered throughout the book.