A comparative investigation of emotional expression in Baroque and modern music : perspectives from cognitive psychology

Abstract

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An experiment was conducted to test listeners’ emotional responses to Baroque and modern musical excerpts written to portray the same affective content. A dimensional (valence and arousal) model was used to capture and assess listener responses. The Baroque excerpts were drawn from Johann David Heinichen’s treatise Der General-Bass in der Composition. Modern excerpts were selected from a set designed by Vieillard et al. (2008). It was found that responses differed between music from the two time periods. Modern music was better decoded than Baroque music. Patterns of acoustic-structural cue utilisation corresponding to listener ratings were examined, and found to agree with the existing literature. The cues discussed are tempo, mode, pitch height, interval size, and texture. Tempo was seen to have a positive effect on both valence and arousal. The major mode was associated with positive valence, the minor mode with negative valence. Interval size was positively correlated with valence. No other effects of cue levels on valence and arousal were clear. Baroque excerpts were found to have higher values for tempo and pitch height than modern excerpts for all emotion portrayals. A comprehensive literature review detailing significant research and theoretical frameworks in the fields of emotion research in general and music and emotion in particular was conducted prior to experimentation.AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsommingMaster

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