Music and Emotion

  • Module tutor: Dr Hauke Egermann

Aims and content

Emotional responses to music are often described as the main motivation to engage in music performance and listening. In this module, participants are introduced to psychological research in the field of music and emotion. It will detail theoretical and empirical approaches to studying musical expressiveness and the induction of emotion through music. Here, we will focus on the role of structural, performance, listener, and context features in determining emotional responses to music. Furthermore, emotion genesis mechanisms will be discussed with respect to the literature available.

Assessment

Students will give a short presentation based on a music psychological study, subsequently to be written up (approximately 1000w) (20%). The written submission will consist of an expanded essay on this agreed topic (approximately 4000 words, 80%).

Alternatively, students also have the option to conduct a small empirical research project. This project will have to be orally presented during the classes, subsequently to be written up (methods section, approximately 1000w) (20%), and documented in a complete written research report of approximately 2000-3000 words (80%).

Reading and listening

  • Juslin, P.N. & Sloboda, J.A. (Eds.) (2010). Handbook of Music and Emotion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hallam, S., Cross, I., Thaut, M. (Eds.). (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford: University Press.
  • Juslin, P. N., & Västfjäll, D. (2008). Emotional responses to music: the need to consider underlying mechanisms. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31(5), 559–75; discussion 575–621.
  • Juslin, P. N., & Laukka, P. (2003). Communication of emotions in vocal expression and music performance: Different channels, same code? Psychological Bulletin, 129(5), 770–814.
  • Cochrane, T.,Fantini, B. & Scherer, K. R.  (Eds.). The Emotional Power of Music Multidisciplinary perspectives on musical arousal, expression, and social control. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the taught part of the project all students should:

  • have a knowledge and understanding of how the human mind processes emotion in music including expression, recognition, and induction
  • be able to summarize different theoretical approaches in the field including their limitations
  • be able to evaluate the methodology of empirical studies from the field of Music and Emotion research
  • be able to design and conduct small empirical research projects investigating simple research questions in the field of music and emotion
  • and be able to apply this knowledge in their own professional approach to teaching, composing, and performing music.

First years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-A7.

Second years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1-B7.

Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-C7.