Proceedings abstract




Alf Gabrielsson

Department of Psychology

Uppsala University

Box 1225

SE - 751 42 Uppsala



Studies on emotion in music can be divided into two main categories: studies focusing on recognition of emotional expression in music and studies focusing on listeners' own emotional response to the music (induced emotions). The distinction between these categories is not always upheld in investigations.


This paper aims at comparing and discussing methods and results of studies in both categories mentioned above with regard to parallels and contrasts.

Main Contribution:

On the basis of extensive reviews of empirical studies, various classifications of both recognised and induced emotions have been made. Classifications may be data-driven, theory-driven, or both. In either case, a basic classification into aspects of valence and arousal seems feasible. However, it has to be supplemented in various ways to do reasonable justice to the manifold and the subtleties of emotions recognised in or induced by music. Results depend to a great deal on the music used, voluntarily or involuntarily chosen, as well as on the methods for obtaining and analysing data. Furthermore, results are by necessity influenced by listener and situation characteristics.


Investigations and discussions on emotion in music would benefit from a clearer distinction between recognised and induced emotions. Although this distinction may be somewhat blurred, awareness thereof should help in interpreting results, reveal inconsistencies, and contribute to increasing both internal and external validity of studies on emotion in music.

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