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postgraduate thesis: Music and emotions reconsidered : towards a holistic approach to understanding musical experience

TitleMusic and emotions reconsidered : towards a holistic approach to understanding musical experience
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Ma, D. [馬端陽]. (2012). Music and emotions reconsidered : towards a holistic approach to understanding musical experience. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5108686
AbstractThe relationship between music and emotions has been the focus of the study of musical experience. However, previous studies have focused in particular on what psychologists understand as the "basic emotions", which are rigorously defined. This thesis argues that the focus on basic emotions has indeed limited our understanding of what we feel when we listen to music. A narrative review of the recent literature has been carried out to closely examine the existing findings and limitations of previous studies have been revealed. In addition, a positive tendency is observed in listeners' responses to music. Participants' ratings of happiness were overwhelmingly high among different music excerpts. This suggests that listeners tend to feel positive when they listen to music regardless of the specific emotions aroused by music (e.g. happiness and sadness). The high level of happiness observed in the review may actually point to the experience of pleasure. Taking this as a starting point, this study moves on to introduce the psychological notion of pleasure and how it can be applied to the study of musical experience. The experience of pleasure involves an evaluation process and is not necessarily tied up with particular emotions. The relationship between pleasure and musical expectations is also explored. An explorative empirical study has been carried out to investigate listeners' experiences of pleasure and emotions when they listen to music. Participants listened to several music excerpts and they had to report the affective response induced by the excerpts in them. They also gave ratings to the level of pleasure they experienced with the music excerpts. Results show that different excerpts induced different responses in the participants, but the levels of pleasure they experienced towards different excerpts were not significantly different. Taken together, this study suggests that pleasure is commonly experienced when we listen to music and it is a psychological experience independent of emotions. A better understanding of musical pleasure can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of our musical experience.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectMusic - Psychological aspects
Emotions
Dept/ProgramMusic
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/193468

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorBiancorosso, G-
dc.contributor.advisorKim, Y-
dc.contributor.authorMa, Duan-yang-
dc.contributor.author馬端陽-
dc.date.accessioned2014-01-10T09:45:53Z-
dc.date.available2014-01-10T09:45:53Z-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationMa, D. [馬端陽]. (2012). Music and emotions reconsidered : towards a holistic approach to understanding musical experience. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5108686-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/193468-
dc.description.abstractThe relationship between music and emotions has been the focus of the study of musical experience. However, previous studies have focused in particular on what psychologists understand as the "basic emotions", which are rigorously defined. This thesis argues that the focus on basic emotions has indeed limited our understanding of what we feel when we listen to music. A narrative review of the recent literature has been carried out to closely examine the existing findings and limitations of previous studies have been revealed. In addition, a positive tendency is observed in listeners' responses to music. Participants' ratings of happiness were overwhelmingly high among different music excerpts. This suggests that listeners tend to feel positive when they listen to music regardless of the specific emotions aroused by music (e.g. happiness and sadness). The high level of happiness observed in the review may actually point to the experience of pleasure. Taking this as a starting point, this study moves on to introduce the psychological notion of pleasure and how it can be applied to the study of musical experience. The experience of pleasure involves an evaluation process and is not necessarily tied up with particular emotions. The relationship between pleasure and musical expectations is also explored. An explorative empirical study has been carried out to investigate listeners' experiences of pleasure and emotions when they listen to music. Participants listened to several music excerpts and they had to report the affective response induced by the excerpts in them. They also gave ratings to the level of pleasure they experienced with the music excerpts. Results show that different excerpts induced different responses in the participants, but the levels of pleasure they experienced towards different excerpts were not significantly different. Taken together, this study suggests that pleasure is commonly experienced when we listen to music and it is a psychological experience independent of emotions. A better understanding of musical pleasure can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of our musical experience.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshMusic - Psychological aspects-
dc.subject.lcshEmotions-
dc.titleMusic and emotions reconsidered : towards a holistic approach to understanding musical experience-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5108686-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineMusic-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5108686-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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