this study investigates the relationship between acoustic patterns in contemporary electroacoustic compositions, and listeners' real-time perceptions of their structure and affective content. Thirty-two participants varying in musical expertise (nonmusicians, classical musicians, expert computer musicians) continuously rated the affect (arousal and valence) and structure (change in sound) they perceived in four compositions of approximately three minutes duration. Time series analyses tested the hypotheses that sound intensity influences listener perceptions of structure and arousal, and spectral flatness influences perceptions of structure and valence. Results suggest that intensity strongly influences perceived change in sound, and to a lesser extent listener perceptions of arousal. Spectral flatness measures were only weakly related to listener perceptions, and valence was not strongly shaped by either acoustic measure. Differences in response by composition and musical expertise suggest that, particularly with respect to the perception of valence, individual experience (familiarity and liking), and meaningful sound associations mediate perception.
- Received July 27, 2010.
- Accepted July 26, 2011.
- © 2012 by The Regents of the University of California