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Research on the Perception and/or the Emotions of a Melody

Researchon the Perception and/or the Emotions of a Melody

Researchon the Perception and/or the Emotions of a Melody

Musicperception is a topic that may seem to be quite impractical. However,just by its name, it is the process by which an individual can derivethe essence or acuity of the music. After all, music is created sothat people can perceive it. Music usually has several features thatcan be identified such as melody, rhythm, harmony and evenrepetition. The perception of such elements is typically measured bythe ability to recognize them [ CITATION Eri16 l 1033 ].For instance, theme as a component of music can be determined basedon the individual’s ability to identify it and differentiate itfrom other melodies. The only issue comes up during listening tosounds that are not musical. As such,tune perception depends on language, intonation, pitch or tonality inorder to develop a mood.

Melodyperception encompasses a wide array of attributes. To understand theemotions raised, a scrutiny must be taken into consideration. Assuch, twelve different emotions are usually observed, but the mostcommon include sad and happy. Perception of emotion in melodytypically depends on several factors such as the mode and notedensity. The different combinations of such factors indicate that nospecific musical element determines the emotional content. Manyparameters in music contribute to the emotional content. Puttingaside the semantic meaning, the basic parameters include melody,harmony, and rhythm. Each of these components has their uniquecharacteristics concerning the emotional response. Apparently, therelationships and arrangement of notes combine to give rise toemotion expression [CITATION Meg11 l 1033 ].Any alteration of the melody by various degrees significantly affectthe emotion. Close examinations are needed to see how theseparameters can be manipulated to illustrate particular emotions.

Severalstudies have been done to identify how melody structures help in thedepiction of different emotions. It is evident that the strongestassociations are found on the main emotions namely happiness andsadness. Both the mode and density have correlations with passion andthe style. Likewise, the melodic contours differ considerably,especially concerning the pre-existing conditions. Additionally, theregularity of formal design among the melodies also affects theemotions of the listener. In one of the studies, it is shown that thepatterns related to happy tunes are dependent on the span as well asthe intervals of music (Schubert, 2004). There is a suggestion thatthe invariant structural features of tonal melodies are not theprincipal contributors of emotion portrayal. A close analysis of songimplies that people who have interests in the emotional aspects ofmusic tend to have a more strained relationship and hence theperception of the emotion and melody. It is also evident thatmelodies can be tweaked to portray different emotions (Schulkind etal., 2003). The performers are tasked with the role of understandingthe musical features. In this way, they can be able to relate to theemotions and thus achieve the artistic goals.

Whenlistening to music, we can have a different experience and perceptionin comparison to listening to sound which is more or lessnon-musical. The question concerning why some music is better thanothers comes in at this point. Several answers exist, and they rangefrom the varied cultures, musical taste and most of all, theperception. One of the facets that can be perceived in music is thebeauty. It is a quality that cannot be ignored in the arousal ofemotion. As far as music is concerned, the melody itself is whatenhances the aesthetics of the song and thus creates an idea thatdevelops a sense of happiness, sadness, melancholy, cheerfulness andother moods (Grewe et al., 2007). Essentially, the melody perceptionis what bring out the right components of suitability anddesirability of the music. Most people can have different attitudesconcerning a particular thing, but when it comes to melody, theemotional attitude is universal (Huron, 2006). For example, of themelody elicits a sad mood, it is next to impossible to have a groupof people who perceive the song as a happy one while another groupidentifies it as sad. Nevertheless, the experiences, discernment andsensitivity of individuals may have different effects concerning thedegree of emotional elucidation. This is the reason as to why somepeople may find a particular melody incredibly joyous while otherswill only appreciate and enjoy the happiness to a lesser extent.

Inconclusion, a person must have the capability of perceiving andderive the meaning of music for the emotions to be triggered. A hostof theoretical debates has not fully answered the questions aboutappreciation of melody. In addition, happy and sad ratings are noteasy to analyze since each emotion has its association with otherfeelings. A greater number of songs can not only increase thecorrelations between structure and rating but also uncover thesubstantial effects of the features. Mode and note density in musiccan be used to manipulate the melody in such a way as to create theintended responses. Similarly, the tempo also has its effects thatcan be perceived in various forms.


Grewe,O., Nagel, F., Kopiez, R., &amp Altenmuller, E. (2007). Listening tomusic as a re-creative process: Physiological, psychological, andpsychoacoustical correlates of chills and strong emotions. MusicPerception 24 (3), 297-314

Huron,D (2006). Chapters 5-6, pp.73-100. Sweet anticipation: Music and thepsychology of expectation. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Schubert,E. (2004). Modeling perceived emotion with continuous musicalfeatures. Music perception, 21 (4) 561-585

Schulkind,A., Posner, R., &amp Rubin, D. (2003). Musical features thatfacilitate melody identification: How do you know it`s &quotyour&quotsong when they finally play it? Music Perception, 21, (2), 217-249.

Lindstrom, E. (2016). Impact of melodic organization on perceived structure and emotional expression in music. Musicae Scientiae, 85-117.

Trenck, M. (2011). The Composition and Perception of Emotion in Melody. Lubbock: Texas Tech University.