Emotion rendering in music: range and characteristic values of seven musical variables.Cortex. 2011 Oct; 47(9):1068-81.C
Many studies on the synthesis of emotional expression in music performance have focused on the effect of individual performance variables on perceived emotional quality by making a systematical variation of variables. However, most of the studies have used a predetermined small number of levels for each variable, and the selection of these levels has often been done arbitrarily. The main aim of this research work is to improve upon existing methodologies by taking a synthesis approach. In a production experiment, 20 performers were asked to manipulate values of 7 musical variables simultaneously (tempo, sound level, articulation, phrasing, register, timbre, and attack speed) for communicating 5 different emotional expressions (neutral, happy, scary, peaceful, sad) for each of 4 scores. The scores were compositions communicating four different emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, calmness). Emotional expressions and music scores were presented in combination and in random order for each performer for a total of 5 × 4 stimuli. The experiment allowed for a systematic investigation of the interaction between emotion of each score and intended expressed emotions by performers. A two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), repeated measures, with factors emotion and score was conducted on the participants' values separately for each of the seven musical factors. There are two main results. The first one is that musical variables were manipulated in the same direction as reported in previous research on emotional expressive music performance. The second one is the identification for each of the five emotions the mean values and ranges of the five musical variables tempo, sound level, articulation, register, and instrument. These values resulted to be independent from the particular score and its emotion. The results presented in this study therefore allow for both the design and control of emotionally expressive computerized musical stimuli that are more ecologically valid than stimuli without performance variations.