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Sensitivity to musical emotion is influenced by tonal structure in congenital amusia

Jiang, C., Liu, F. and Wong, P. C. M. (2017) Sensitivity to musical emotion is influenced by tonal structure in congenital amusia. Scientific Reports, 7. 7624. ISSN 2045-2322

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-08005-x

Abstract/Summary

Emotional communication in music depends on multiple attributes including psychoacoustic features and tonal system information, the latter of which is unique to music. The present study investigated whether congenital amusia, a lifelong disorder of musical processing, impacts sensitivity to musical emotion elicited by timbre and tonal system information. Twenty-six amusics and 26 matched controls made tension judgments on Western (familiar) and Indian (unfamiliar) melodies played on piano and sitar. Like controls, amusics used timbre cues to judge musical tension in Western and Indian melodies. While controls assigned significantly lower tension ratings to Western melodies compared to Indian melodies, thus showing a tonal familiarity effect on tension ratings, amusics provided comparable tension ratings for Western and Indian melodies on both timbres. Furthermore, amusics rated Western melodies as more tense compared to controls, as they relied less on tonality cues than controls in rating tension for Western melodies. The implications of these findings in terms of emotional responses to music are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:71777
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group

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