Perception-based classification of Expressive Musical Terms: Toward a parametrization of musical expressiveness

Aviel Sulema, Ehud Bodnera and Noam Amirb

aBar-Ilan University
bTel Aviv University

Monday, September 16, 2019 from 19:20 to 19:40

in Summer Theater

Abstract :
Expressive Musical Terms (EMTs) are commonly used by composers as verbal descriptions of musical expressiveness that performers are requested to convey. In order to classify 55 EMTs covering a wide range of characters on the basis of their perception by performers, we conducted two experiments with the participation of 11 professional string players. They were asked (i) to organize the considered EMTs in a two- dimensional plane in such a way that proximity reflects similarity; (ii) to rate these EMTs in terms of valence, arousal, extraversion and neuroticism, on 7-level Likert scales. Using a minimization procedure, we found that a satisfactory partition requires these EMTs to be organized in four clusters (whose centers are associated with tenderness, happiness, anger and sadness) located in the four quarters of the valence-arousal plane of the Russellís circumplex model of affect. An alternative representation is provided by the positive-negative activation parameters, introduced by Watson & Tellegen and corresponding to the coordinates along the diagonal directions of the valence-arousal plane. We obtained for these EMTs a significant correlation between positive activation and extraversion and between negative activation and neuroticism. This demonstrates that the expressed emotion is strongly related to the musical character of the performance.

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