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The Link Between Historic Context and Musical Training in Perceived Emotion

The Link Between Historic Context and Musical Training in Perceived Emotion

Session 2

Presenter Name:Cameron Anderson

School/Affiliation:McMaster University

Co-Authors:Cameron Anderson; Michael Schutz


Musical training enhances emotion recognition in music, as well as emotional speech. Among music’s most salient cues for emotion is mode—the organizational cue listeners rely on to discern the emotional meaning of compositions. A growing body of research has explored the link between musical training and mode’s effect on music’s perceived valence (i.e., perceived positive/negative emotional quality; Ramos et al., 2011; Hevner, 1935). However, the extent to which historical context influences mode’s effects on emotions perceived by trained and untrained listeners remains unclear. The present research examines how listeners with diverse musical training perceive emotion in music from the Baroque and Romantic eras—periods of musical composition reputed for notable stylistic differences. Specifically, we use novel visualization techniques to clarify how mode and its relationships to pitch and timing predict emotion ratings of listeners with varied musical experience using compositions by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) and F. Chopin (1810-49). These efforts provide an important first step toward clarifying the relationship between perceived emotion, musical training, and historic context. 

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