PNB Colloquium Series - Aimee Batcock - Understanding musical emotion: Exploring the interaction between cues, training and interpretation.

Description

PC/155

Aimee Batcock
McMaster University



Understanding musical emotion: Exploring the interaction between cues, training and interpretation.

Abstract:

Musical performers and composers express their emotions through the selection and use of various musical features, or cues. Studies exploring how listeners perceive emotion in music have identified several cues important to this process—often using tightly controlled (and constrained) tone sequences crafted for experimental purposes. More work is needed to examine how listeners decode communicated emotion in unaltered passages created by renowned composers—the kind of music routinely performed and enjoyed by audiences for generations. In three sets of experiments, we apply a novel stimulus set and analysis to determine the relative importance of three musical features (timing, mode and pitch). Additionally, we explore the role of the listener’s level of expertise as well as the importance of performers’ interpretative decisions. This offers a new way to understand the relationship between musical features and emotional messages, helping to clarify one of music’s most mysterious and powerful capabilities. All together, our findings corroborate previous evidence suggesting timing and mode cues are of the greatest importance in conveying /perceiving emotion, and that this process is further mediated by individual differences in both pianist (interpretation) and listener (musical training)—underscoring the complex relationship between composer, performer, and audience.

Host: Michael Schutz
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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | PNB