This study examined the effects of repeated hearings on 74 participants’ responses to two types of musical compositions. Intact compositions consisted of short classical piano solos. Patchwork compositions were created by combining excerpts from three different musical works. The findings showed that listeners’ ratings of unity and liking for intact compositions were initially higher than those for patchwork compositions. With repeated hearings, however, ratings of patchwork compositions increased linearly while ratings of intact compositions showed a general downward trend. After four repeated hearings, ratings of patchwork compositions even exceeded those of the intact compositions. These trends across repeated hearings were contrary to what would be predicted if listeners were focusing on thematic relationships. Implications for Berlyne’s two-factor arousal theory and competing theories are discussed.
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