Listeners’ Perceived Emotions in Musical Excerpts with Ordered vs. Randomized Pitch and Register

Author: Poudrier, Ève, Bell, Bryan, Lee, Jason Yin Hei, and Sapp, Craig Stuart

Publication details: 2023 4th International Symposium on the Internet of SoundsPisa, Italy, 2023, pp. 1-9. IEEE. 


Abstract: The current study investigates the influence of pitch and register (ordered vs. randomized) on listeners’ ratings of five emotional dimensions (mood, energy, movement, dissonance, and tension) using excerpts from multi-part musical compositions that feature complex rhythmic and pitch structures. In addition to listeners’ ratings, computational measures derived from nine rhythm and pitch features were used to assess the influence of specific structural elements on listeners’ perceived emotions. The results show a large main effect of pitch presentation on all five emotional dimensions. Participants tended to rate ordered excerpts as more positive in mood, higher in energy, and with a greater impulse to move along the music, while randomized excerpts were perceived as more dissonant and more tense. Several rhythmic and pitch features were also reliable predictors of listener’s ratings, providing support for the use of naturalistic stimuli accompanied by more fine-grain measures of structural elements in experimental studies of listeners’ experience of music.