Emotional response to major mode musical pieces: score-dependent perceptual and acoustic analysis

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


SMC Conference 2011 (2011)


In the Expressive Information Processing field, some studies investigated the relation between music and emotions, proving that is possible to correlate the listeners main appraisal categories and the acoustic parameters which better characterize expressive intentions, defining score-independent models of expressiveness. Other researches take in account that part of the emotional response to music results from the cognitive processing of musical structures (key, modalities, rhythm), which are known to be expressive in the context of the Western musical system. Almost all these studies investigate emotional responses to music by us- ing linguistic labels, that is potentially problematic since it can encourage participants to simplify what they actually experience. Recently, some authors proposed an experimental method that makes no use of linguistic labels. By means of the multidimensional scaling method (MDS), a two-dimensional space was found to provide a good fit of the data, with arousal and emotional valence as the primary dimensions. In order to emphasize other latent di- mensions, a perceptual experiment and a comprehensive acoustic analysis was carried out by using a set of musical pieces all in major mode. Results show that participants tend to organize the stimuli according to three clusters, related to musical tempo and to timbric aspects such as the spectral energy distribution.

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