Emotional response to musical repetition.Emotion. 2012 Jun; 12(3):552-67.E
Two experiments examined the effects of repetition on listeners' emotional response to music. Listeners heard recordings of orchestral music that contained a large section repeated twice. The music had a symmetric phrase structure (same-length phrases) in Experiment 1 and an asymmetric phrase structure (different-length phrases) in Experiment 2, hypothesized to alter the predictability of sensitivity to musical repetition. Continuous measures of arousal and valence were compared across music that contained identical repetition, variation (related), or contrasting (unrelated) structure. Listeners' emotional arousal ratings differed most for contrasting music, moderately for variations, and least for repeating musical segments. A computational model for the detection of repeated musical segments was applied to the listeners' emotional responses. The model detected the locations of phrase boundaries from the emotional responses better than from performed tempo or physical intensity in both experiments. These findings indicate the importance of repetition in listeners' emotional response to music and in the perceptual segmentation of musical structure.