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An interactive production approach to emotion perception in music

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Multiple approaches have been used to investigate how musical cues are used to shape different emotions in music. The most prominent approach is a systematic manipulation approach (Eerola, Friberg, & Bresin, 2013; Scherer & Oshinsky, 1977), where similar musical excerpts are created by slightly varying cue levels and evaluated by participants in terms of their perceived emotional expression (Hevner, 1935; Juslin & Lindström, 2010). This approach allows for pre-determined changes in musical cues to be investigated, however, the number of cues and combinations that can be investigated simultaneously is limited, as a design with a large number of cue combinations becomes unfeasible. An alternative method is a production approach, where participants are in charge of changing a selection of musical cues in real-time to express different emotions through music (Bresin & Friberg, 2011; Kragness & Trainor, 2019). In this talk, I will present my work on creating an interactive interface called EmoteControl, which allows users to change a selection of cues of an instrumental musical piece as it plays in real-time. EmoteControl was used to investigate how participants utilised seven cues (tempo, brightness, dynamics, pitch, articulation, mode, and instrument) and their combinations to change the emotion expressed in seven instrumental musical pieces to portray seven different emotions: sadness, joy, calmness, anger, fear, power, and surprise. The cue combinations used for the different emotional expressions will be highlighted, and whether the use of this interactive production approach for emotion perception in music research yields similar results to a systematic manipulation approach will be discussed.


Annaliese Micallef Grimaud is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Computer Science at Durham University, currently working on the AHRC -funded project “Accelerating embedded computational analysis of Web data about music in UK universities”. She holds a PhD in Music Psychology from Durham University, an MMus in Creative Sound and Media Technology from Bath Spa University, and a BA (Hons) in Music, specialising in music composition, from the University of Malta. Her research interests include digital skills training for music researchers, music and emotions, and interactive systems, with a particular focus on the creation and use of interactive paradigms to assess how emotions are communicated in music. Throughout her professional career, Annaliese has composed music for short films, dance, and live performances. She has worked in the Media Industry in Malta for over 10 years, being involved in local leading TV programs and international events, including the CHOGM 2015 . She is currently the Digital Producer for the primetime Maltese TV show Bundytime.

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This talk is part of the CMS seminar series in the Faculty of Music series.

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