Article

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199298457.013.0013

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The relationship between musical structure and perceived expression

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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

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