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Affective Responses to Music

Title: Affective Responses to Music: A Flutist's Perspective.
Name(s): Large, Karen Mclaughlin, author
Ohlsson, Eric, professor co-directing treatise
Amsler, Eva, professor co-directing treatise
Shaftel, Matthew, university representative
Meighan, Patrick, committee member
College of Music, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2010
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In music, the field of affective (or emotional) response research is significant not only in the number of studies published, but in its study of the motivation behind music-making. Most composers, performers, and listeners participate in music to communicate—to convey or receive some meaning. Much of that communication is emotional in nature; yet as with human emotions, musical emotions are difficult to study and describe due to their complex nature. There is a large amount of research on affective responses within a number of different musical sub-fields. The first chapter of this treatise looks at the subject of emotion in music from three perspectives: performance, theoretical, and experimental. Scholars in each of these fields approach emotion in music very differently, yet many conclusions are the same between groups. One of the purposes of this treatise is to present some of the main ideas from each of these groups in order to elicit communication between the groups and provide a broad background for research on this topic. The second chapter presents an experiment performed specifically for this treatise. Knowing that so much research exists on emotion in music, it is surprising that many teaching techniques are limited to imagery, metaphors, and aural modeling. The goal of the experiment was to evaluate the emotional content of fifteen flute themes from the standard solo literature to determine if the emotions traditionally assigned to this music could be empirically, or numerically, validated or rejected. Most traditional emotions assigned to these themes were empirically validated. Those themes that did not match the traditional emotion in the experiment showed at least a high degree of representation of the traditional emotion, in addition to other emotions. The results of the experiment show that listeners, regardless of the instrument they play, agree on emotional content within music. Additionally, valence and arousal, or sentiment and activity, play a large part in this process especially in determining the intensity of the emotions portrayed. The third chapter is a proposed plan for teaching emotional expression in music lessons. It fuses the information from the first chapter and results of the experiment in the second chapter to provide a well-rounded approach to performing with emotion. The benefit of this approach versus traditional imagery-, metaphor-, and aural-based techniques is that it provides articulated physical goals toward which students can strive and is deeply rooted in the scholarly research previously conducted in this field.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-3279 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Treatise submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Music.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2010.
Date of Defense: December 4, 2009.
Keywords: Expression, Affective Responses, Emotion, Music, Flute, Valence, Arousal
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Eric Ohlsson, Professor Co-Directing Treatise; Eva Amsler, Professor Co-Directing Treatise; Matthew Shaftel, University Representative; Patrick Meighan, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Music
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Host Institution: FSU

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Large, K. M. (2010). Affective Responses to Music: A Flutist's Perspective. Retrieved from