This study compared the emotional intensities of a conductor and audience during a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The affective state of the conductor was estimated unobtrusively with a wearable electrocardiogram, and audience participants self-reported their affective states with manual slider boxes. Results indicated that: 1) the conductor’s heart rate variations were temporally aligned with structural patterns in the musical scores; and 2) these variations strongly correlated with the average emotional intensity measurement of the audience. Four consecutive musical selections yielded significant positive correlations (p < .001; r = .86, .84, .48, .61), demonstrating a temporally related emotional intensity shared between the conductor and audience during the performance. Although a causal relationship was not determined, some evidence supported induction as the mechanism of emotional communication. These results suggest possible methods for better understanding the affective experiences of conductors, the reactions of listeners to various stimuli, and the interactions between audiences and musicians during concerts.
- Received January 29, 2013.
- Accepted February 24, 2014.
- © 2014 by The Regents of the University of California