Listeners' Perception of Intended Emotions in Music

Chong, Hyun Ju;Jeong, Eunju;Kim, Soo Ji

  • Received : 2013.06.11
  • Accepted : 2013.11.26
  • Published : 2013.12.28


Music functions as a catalyst for various emotional experiences. Among the numerous genres of music, film music has been reported to induce strong emotional responses. However, the effectiveness of film music in evoking different types of emotions and its relationship in terms of which musical elements contribute to listeners' perception of intended emotion have been rarely investigated. The purpose of this study was to examine the congruence between the intended emotion and the perceived emotion of listeners in film music listening and to identify musical characteristics of film music that correspond with specific types of emotion. Additionally, the study aimed to investigate possible relationships between participants' identification responses and personal musical experience. A total of 147 college students listened to twelve 15-second music excerpts and identified the perceived emotion during music listening. The results showed a high degree of congruence between the intended emotion in film music and the participants' perceived emotion. Existence of tonality and modality were found to play an important role in listeners' perception of intended emotion. The findings suggest that identification of perceived emotion in film music excerpts was congruent regardless of individual differences. Specific music components that led to high congruence are further discussed.


Film Music Listening;Emotion Identification;Musical Elements;Individual Differences


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