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Emotional responses to music listening: A review of some previous research and an original, five-phase study

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The paper firstly reviews four studies on the power of music to generate emotional responses in the listener. Using scientific methodology, the research comprised experiments with sacred versus secular music, the effect of different modes and rhythms in hymn tunes, music and task performance, and the respective influences of nature and nurture on musical ability. Secondly, the paper describes the five phases of a research programme to assess the frequency and nature of peak emotional experiences generated through listening to music. This study made use of surveys, laboratory experiments and EEG measurements in its investigation. Whilst the combined outcomes add to the knowledge and understanding of the role of music, many opportunities for further work remain.
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Keywords: emotion; experiment; music; peak experiences; spiritual

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The University of Northampton.

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • The Journal of Applied Arts and Health serves a wide community of artists, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers evidencing the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary use of arts in health and arts for health. It provides a forum for the publication and debate within an interdisciplinary field of arts in healthcare and health promotion. The journal defines 'health' broadly which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and community health.
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