Cross-cultural Musical Expressiveness: Theory and the Empirical Program

Stephen Davies

in Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608775
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729669 | DOI:
Cross-cultural Musical Expressiveness: Theory and the Empirical Program

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Instrumental music expresses emotions such as sadness and happiness and the music of different cultures share important organizational and other features. If music's expressiveness is grounded in these musical universals, we might speculate that musical expressiveness, like displays of the basic affect programs discussed by psychologists, are appreciable across cultures. A critical review of psychologists' cross-cultural studies of recognition of music's expressive qualities is equivocal, however. The low number of such studies and their methodological weaknesses leave the issue in doubt.

Keywords: expressiveness; affect program; instrumental music; cultures; musical universals

Chapter.  6083 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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