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Music Structure and Emotional Response: Some Empirical Findings

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Abstract

Eighty-three music listeners completed a questionnaire in which thev provided information about the occurrence of a range of physical reactions while listening to music. Shivers down the spine, laughter, tears and lump in the throat were reported by over 80(% of respondents. Respondents were asked to locate specific musical passages that reliably evoked such responses. Structural analysis of these passages showed that tears were most reliablN evoked by passages containing sequences and appogiaturas, while shivers were most reliably evoked by passages containing new or unexpected harmonies. The data generally support theoretical approaches to elmotion based on confirmations and violations of expectancv.
... It has been proven that specific harmonic patterns elicit tears, increase of heart rate and chills -a strong emotional response involving goose bumps, shivers, or tingles down the spine. 76 Popular music offers a great field for exploring the relationship between chords and emotions, because it shows a clear connection between the use of harmonies and the content of the lyrics. While the aim of high-art music is to express emotions, popular music's aim is to evoke emotions in listeners, 77 often chills 78 and nostalgia. ...
... In the Serbian translation it is important to use rhymes, as their role is to make the melody easier to remember and perform. Rhyme is equivalent to the musical tonal center and corresponds to the central principle, in the same way in which the focus of tonal 76 ...
... Доказано је да специфични хармонски обрасци изазивају сузе, убрзање откуцаја срца и језу -јак емоционални одговор који покреће најеживање, дрхтавицу или трнце низ кичму. 76 Популарна музика представља широко поље за истраживање односа између акорда и емоција, јер у њој постоји јасна веза између употребе хармонија и садржаја текста. Док је циљ уметничке музике да изрази емоције, циљ популарне музике је да изазове емоције код слушалаца, 77 често језу 78 и носталгију. ...
Article
A new interdisciplinary approach of teaching ABBA's songs in university solfeggio classes involves: graphical representation of melodic contours and harmonic progressions; embodied tension and relaxation caused by the (un)expected harmonic patterns/progressions, form and rhythm; aural and visual music analysis of ostinato and drone, as the elemental characteristics of popular music, and Dorian mode, PEN-tatonic and blue tones, as the main Orff-Schulwerk teaching strategies; emotions, experienced in relation to the gradual addition of voices and the chain of dominants; verbality, respecting the use of rhymes in verse translations, and the prosodic stress, musical meter and melodic contour alignment.
... Even so, frisson and misophonia have some noteworthy similarities. Like misophonia, frisson experiences are consistent, so even after listening to the same piece of music multiple times, a listener can still experience this strong emotional response (Sloboda, 1991). The experiences of frisson and misophonia both vary widely between individuals: virtually any genre of music can induce frisson in a person depending on their preferences, and misophonic triggers also vary depending on the individual and their life history with a given trigger (Salimpoor et al., 2009;Edelstein et al., 2013). ...
... The experiences of frisson and misophonia both vary widely between individuals: virtually any genre of music can induce frisson in a person depending on their preferences, and misophonic triggers also vary depending on the individual and their life history with a given trigger (Salimpoor et al., 2009;Edelstein et al., 2013). Nevertheless, the acoustic features of misophonia and frisson triggers may differ, since misophonic triggers are often repetitive or periodic in nature (Edelstein et al., 2013;Brout et al., 2018), whereas frisson is often and most notably induced when a novel musical event violates expectations, such as an unexpected harmony or entrance of a new voice, or an intense musical feature like dynamic leaps in loudness (Sloboda, 1991;Grewe et al., 2007;Plazak, 2008;Harrison and Loui, 2014). More research is needed to understand the similarities and differences between experiences of misophonia and musical frisson. ...
... Musicians outperform non-musicians at recognizing emotion conveyed in music (Castro and Lima, 2014;Kantor-Martynuska and Horabik, 2015;Akkermans et al., 2019;Dahary et al., 2020), they have more consistent, more rapid, and/or more intense experiences of both positive and negative musical emotion as reflected by subjective arousal ratings and physiological responses (Steinbeis et al., 2006;Brattico et al., 2009;Dellacherie et al., 2011;Mikutta et al., 2014;Park et al., 2014), and these affective responses are driven by a distinct set of musical cues such as dissonance, mode (major/minor), and harmony (Schön et al., 2005;James et al., 2008;Midya et al., 2019;Battcock and Schutz, 2021). Even the experience of frisson has been reported more often in musicians than in non-musicians (Sloboda, 1991; but see Grewe et al., 2007). Music training also predicts better performance on non-musical speech and language processing tasks and measures (Wong et al., 2007;Parbery-Clark et al., 2009;Bidelman et al., 2013;Zuk et al., 2013;Coffey et al., 2017). ...
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Misophonia can be characterized both as a condition and as a negative affective experience. Misophonia is described as feeling irritation or disgust in response to hearing certain sounds, such as eating, drinking, gulping, and breathing. Although the earliest misophonic experiences are often described as occurring during childhood, relatively little is known about the developmental pathways that lead to individual variation in these experiences. This literature review discusses evidence of misophonic reactions during childhood and explores the possibility that early heightened sensitivities to both positive and negative sounds, such as to music, might indicate a vulnerability for misophonia and misophonic reactions. We will review when misophonia may develop, how it is distinguished from other auditory conditions (e.g., hyperacusis, phonophobia, or tinnitus), and how it relates to developmental disorders (e.g., autism spectrum disorder or Williams syndrome). Finally, we explore the possibility that children with heightened musicality could be more likely to experience misophonic reactions and develop misophonia.
... Changes and improvements in emotion regulation can result from solitary music listening (Larson, 1990;Saarikallio, 2012;Sloboda, 1991). The ability of music to regulate emotions and mood, and to serve as a means of stress reduction in daily life even without the presence of others, has been emphasized as the main reason for listening to music (Greasley & Lamont, 2011;Sloboda, 1991). ...
... Changes and improvements in emotion regulation can result from solitary music listening (Larson, 1990;Saarikallio, 2012;Sloboda, 1991). The ability of music to regulate emotions and mood, and to serve as a means of stress reduction in daily life even without the presence of others, has been emphasized as the main reason for listening to music (Greasley & Lamont, 2011;Sloboda, 1991). Seven basic strategies of emotion regulation through music listening were described across the life span (Saarikallio, 2011). ...
Article
Mindfulness and emotion regulation through music listening are skills that share some attributes with the skill of positive solitude (PS; defined as an inner choice to dedicate time to a meaningful, enjoyable activity or experience managed by oneself, with or without the presence of others). Nevertheless, little is known about their relationship with PS in the second half of life. Hence, we recruited a convenience sample of community-dwelling adults in the second half of life ( N = 123; M = 68.63, SD = 10.99), who completed self-report measures of demographics, emotion regulation through music, mindfulness, and PS. A hierarchical linear regression demonstrated significant positive associations between emotion regulation through music listening and PS, and between mindfulness and PS. Moreover, age moderated the relationship between mindfulness and PS. This relationship was found to be positive and significant only among older adults. These findings support the study’s hypotheses and emphasize the contribution of the current research to developmental research on PS in the second half of life.
... Moreover, they demonstrated other emotional functions. These functions are arousal and activation, which refers to the "chills" (Panksepp, 1995), "peak experiences'' (Sloboda, 1991), or "strong experiences with music" (Gabrielsson, 2002). ...
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As a type of cultural event, music festivals have triumphed economically and socially in recent decades. These events constituted a growing business for the music sector and an alternative way to generate income (Krueger, 2019). In trying to understand the experience that such events provoke in their audience, academics have proposed diverse models in evaluating the event experience from several disciplines. However little attention received the internal cultural development of festival-goers in relation with the emotions experienced in music festivals contexts. This study reveals –through quantitative and qualitative analysis– the experience in music festivals as an opportunity to develop specific features of festival-goer's cultural identity along with the arousal of intense emotions. Finally, it relates these intangible analyses with the intentionality of the festival organizers implied in the organization of the event.
... Although chills were reported during the excerpts by Barber and Albinoni in line with previous work, no passages could be identified where chills occurred more frequently (Guhn et al., 2007). This might be due to the fact that these excerpts lack characteristics which have been especially related to the induction of chills such as new chords or a sudden increase in volume (Sloboda, 1991). ...
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Chills are emotional peaks especially in response toward acoustic stimuli. In the present study, we examined facial expressions associated with pleasant and unpleasant chill experiences during music and harsh sounds by measuring electromyographic activity from facial corrugator and zygomatic muscles. A rubber bulb could be pressed by the participants to report chill intensities. During harsh sounds, increased activation of both corrugator and zygomatic muscle was observed. Zygomatic muscle activity was even more pronounced when a chill experience was reported during such sounds. In contrast, pleasant chill experiences during music were associated with slightly increased corrugator activity compared with absent chills. Our data suggest that harsh sounds produce a painful facial expression that is even intensified when a chill experience is reported. Increased corrugator activity during chills toward music might refer to states of being moved. The results are discussed in the light of a proposed role of the chill in regulating social behavior. Our results suggest that recording facial muscle activity can be a valuable method for the examination of pleasant and unpleasant peak emotions induced by acoustic stimuli.
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Throughout history, music has played a vital role in influencing people's moods and eliciting complex emotions. Examining music's emotional side helps us investigate and reveal the neurological mechanisms underlying music's emotional influence. This article discusses the results of previous studies that explore the performance and emotional expression of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Rhapsodies on a Theme of Paganini, a piece for piano composed by the Russian-American composer-pianist (1873-1943). The themes are investigated from both a historical and a musical standpoint. The inclusion of background information on the composer, including a brief biography, is intended to aid in the learning and performance of this piece. Fully comprehending the performance and emotional aspects of Paganini's Rhapsodies on a Theme of Paganini, Op 43, may enable performers to adjust phrasing and the physical execution of required skills. Furthermore, the research results can be used to build a narrative that the performer can use to analyse how they choose to physically perform the work to produce an engaging performance.
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Current models of aesthetic experience of music (AEM) have emerged in the recent years capitalizing on evidence from psychology and neuroscience research, thus modeling mainly cognitive and information processes in the brain. However, a large part of the empirical research on which these models are based is related to Western tonal music, while another style of Western music, namely, contemporary classical music (CCM), has been almost neglected. CCM is often dissonant and lacks a tonal hierarchical structure, as, for example, in serial musical pieces. The current study qualitatively explored aesthetic dimensions of a CCM experience by contrasting it to classic–romantic music (CM). To this end, 16 semi-structured interviews with experts of both CCM ( n = 8) and CM ( n = 8) were conducted. The interview guide consisted of questions relating to physiological, affective, and cognitive dimensions of music listening. We applied qualitative content analysis on the textual material and compared the emerging main and sub-themes between the groups. Our findings show that especially the categories of expectations, physiological and emotional responses, pleasurable aspects, and, lastly, existential relevance revealed striking differences which allow us to conclude that CM and CCM afford distinguishable types of AEM in listeners.
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