Although several recent studies have involved experimental approaches to aspects of musical performance, most have focused on ``emotive'' communication or analyses of timing profiles in isolation. In this work, several frames of reference are integrated: notational (musical style), performer-generated messages (performer-intent), generator class (different instrument types), the link to the listener and listener knowledge (musician and nonmusician), and, finally, the mappings among frames. In this talk, methodological issues in the study of expressive musical performances are discussed, focusing on convergent operational definitions of variables. It is demonstrated, by experimental results, how different listener operations explicate different aspects of expressive communication. A unique feature of this work is the use of different musical style categories (baroque, classical, romantic, and early 20th century) which initiate the chain of musical communication, providing different contexts for the performer--listener mapping.