The relationship between musical structure and perceived expression

Alf Gabrielsson

in Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199298457
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The relationship between musical structure and perceived expression

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


Show Summary Details


This article discusses the relationship between musical structure and perceived expression. Musical structure is an umbrella term for a host of factors, such as tempo, loudness, pitch, intervals, mode, melody, rhythm, harmony, and various formal aspects (e.g. repetition, variation, transposition). The discussion focuses on perceived expression rather than expression somehow inherent in the music. The listener may apprehend music as ‘pure’ music (absolutism) or as expression of emotions, characters, events, or whatever, and may very well alternate, consciously or unconsciously, between different approaches during the course of a piece. The focus will be on referential meaning.

Keywords: music listening; absolutism; perceived expression; referential meaning; emotional expression

Article.  6270 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.