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Music: A Link between Cognition and Emotion

Carol L. Krumhansl
Current Directions in Psychological Science
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Apr., 2002), pp. 45-50
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20182764
Page Count: 6
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Music: A Link between Cognition and Emotion
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Abstract

Cognition and emotion are closely linked in music. The interplay between expectations and the sounded events is hypothesized to play a central role in creating musical tension and relaxation. The research summarized here is part of an ongoing program investigating how this dynamic aspect of musical emotion relates to the cognition of musical structure. Musical emotions change over time in intensity and quality, and these emotional changes covary with changes in psychophysiological measures. Perceptual studies support music-theoretic descriptions of musical structures that underlie listeners' expectations. Cross-cultural comparisons suggest that certain psychological principles of expectation are quite general, but that musical cultures emphasize these differentially. A schema of temporal organization that relates episodes of tension and relaxation to musical form and expressive aspects of musical performance is described. Finally, some results suggest that the expression of emotion in music shares properties with the expression of emotion in speech and dance.

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