An Exploratory Study of Strong Experiences with Music
The present study is based on research on strong experiences with music as well as musical chills. A questionnaire was sent online, indicating a web link to a musical piece. Fourty-four participants responded by marking the moments or intervals corresponding to a strong experience, further providing a more detailed account of their experience. Results have shown that the most frequent musical feature associated with strong reactions was novelty, followed by contrast. Other less often identified features were those connected to changes in intensity, unexpected modulations, sudden pauses, reprise of the theme or resolution, all similar to those described by current literature. Regarding the emotions described, they were mostly positive or neutral/ambiguous, with a high degree of specificity, not entirely overlapping with the available scales – admiration stands out among them, a very frequent feeling, which may be part of a distinct category of music induced emotions, an aesthetic “super-emotion”. The method allowed for the observation of emotional dynamic during musical listening, resulting in patterns of tension-relaxation similar to those of narration. The subject accounts were further analyzed according to the SEM descriptive system. Finally, we assessed correspondences between the self-reported mechanisms and those described by the Juslin and Vastfjäll’s BRECVEMA model as well as Scherer and Zentner’s production rules model.
Strong experiences with music, music and emotion, chills, content analysis