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Week 8: Emotion

In class we discussed the videos in terms of "felt emotion" - how we actually feel - and "perceived emotion" - how the sound wants us to feel. It was interesting to see that other students had completely different felt emotions, even though we were listening to the same music piece.

Researcher Garrido & Schubert notes how "felt and perceived emotions may also differ qualitatively". For example, participants sometimes report feeling pleasure in response to sad sounding music, or negative emotions when listening to pieces they like. (Garrido & Schubert, 2011, Schubert 2013)

These were my responses and grading for the three background tracks:

  1. Version 1 - 7/10

  • felt emotion

  • relaxing

  • dreamy

  • perceived emotion

  • cool

  • groovy

  1. Version 2 - 5/10

  • felt emotion

  • rigid

  • awkward

  • perceived emotion

  • dreamy

  • emotional

  1. Version 3 - 8/10

  • felt emotion

  • chill

  • feeling good

  • jazzy

  • perceived emotion

  • swagger

  • upbeat

In my opinion, version 3 fitted the songs much better than the other ones, as it was more upbeat and chill, which fitted with the dancing and movements on-screen. However, many people thought that the second one was more fitting and soothing - which was the perceived emotion - but I didn't feel it.

This really resonates with one study that Wong, Roy & Margulis conducted in 2009, where "American participants rate Indian music as “tenser” than Western music, whereas participants from rural India rate Western music as “tenser” than Indian music (Wong et al., 2009)".

I found this work by Bryan James, who compiled a bunch of sounds matched with adjectives, and asked participants to see what adjectives they associate the sounds with keywords.

Check it out here: http://www.bryanjamesdesign.co.uk/emotions-of-sound.html

Here is an example of one of the sounds that the experiment provided:

It really shows that even though music is supposedly an "universal language", felt emotion can still be very different to what the sound designers want us to perceive. It could be culture, personal, experiential differences, and they change the way we feel the emotions in sound.




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