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Schweizer Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft- Annales Suisses de Musicologie- Annuario Svizzero di Musicologia

Neue Folge / Nouvelle Série / Nuova Serie - 28/29 (2008/09)- Redaktion / Rédaction / Redazione: Luca Zoppelli


Edited By Christoph Ballmer and Luca Zoppelli


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MARCEL ZENTNER (York) – KLAUS R. SCHERER (Genève) Emotions Aroused by Music: An Empirical Analysis 13


13 Emotions Aroused by Music: An Empirical Analysis MARCEL ZENTNER (York) – KLAUS R. SCHERER (Genève) 1. The Legacy of Music and Emotion Since the beginning of Western thought, music has consistently been linked to emotion. When music made its first appearance in Western literature 2800 years ago, its effects were primarily described in terms of their po- tential for emotion. In the Odyssey, seamen who sailed near the Sirens were lured by their ravishing music and voices to become shipwrecked on the rocky coasts of southern Italy. Only by having his sailors plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast could Ulysses resist the musical temptations of the Sirens. Plato and Aristotle also endorsed the idea that music creates emotive states. Apart from describing music’s moral bene- fits, they also gave relatively detailed descriptions of the emotional effects of music. Thus, the Phrygian mode would inspire enthusiasm, whereas the Mixolydian mode tended to make people sad (Politics, book VIII). Augustinus loved music but worried that its inebriating effects would de- tract from the biblical messages in the songs. This ambivalent attitude to music’s emotions is characteristic of the Middle Ages, notably in its con- demnation of “wrong” tone combinations that could stir sinful passions. A more balanced view of musical emotions resurfaced in the Baroque pe- riod, for example, in Mattheson’s Affektenlehre. Music’s emotionality became a topic of prime interest in the 19th cen- tury (Robinson, 2007). Music was seen not only as a potent source...

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