Friday, December 2, 2011

Kivy vs. Hanslick

Kivy defends the contour theory of music, which states that the emotions in music are perceived because the we relate the emotions in music to the contour of human behaviors. For example we talk slowly and walk slowly when we are depressed. I found an empirical article that backs up Kivy's hypothsis.

Curtis & Bhurucha (2010) studied the relations between the intonation of speech with specific emotions and the intervals of music when it demonstrates specific emotions. In the first experiment nine female actresses read four different scripts with four diverse affects: anger, happiness, pleasantness, and sadness. (Each of these emotions corresponded to different quadrants of the RTCRR.) In each condition the participants were told that their voice recordings were going to be used in future experiments and to make sure that people could distinguish the emotion in each phase – Intonation was recorded for all four conditions. Each phrase had two syllables, sense each syllable stays on one pitch there was one interval in each phrase. Curtic & Bhurucha (2010) found that sad speech was highly correlated with the use of a descending minor third. Anger was correlated with both an ascending minor second and perfect fifth. Pleasantness and Happiness did not have consistent intervals.

Hanslick subscribes to the representational theory which states that the emotions are in the subject and form of a piece. I found another study that may or may not support this view.

Chapin, Jantzen, Kelso, Steinberg & Large (2010)
conducted a study where a mechanical condition (a computerized piece without tempo fluctuations or dynamics) and an emotive piece played by a person on a piano with tempo fluctuations and dynamics. It was found that more brain regions that are asocciated with emotions were stimulated by the expressional piece. The researchers concluded that dynamics and tempo were the main forms that elicited emotions.

Question: Does the study by
Chapin, Jantzen, Kelso, Steinberg & Large (2010) support Hanslick's theory?