Communicating senses: arguments for a neurosociology of music

12:30, Saturday 8 May 2021 (30 minutes)
Break    01:00 PM to 01:30 PM (30 minutes)

Angelo Martingo, University of Minho, Portugal

Anthropological and evolutionary perspectives have diversely theorised music as the language of emotions and stressed its potential role on emotional regulation and social cohesion. Although it remains unclear how emotion is produced and communicated in music, Lerdahl put forward in Tonal Pitch Space (TPS, 2001) quantified musical patterns of tension and relaxation, reminiscent of body posture, in response to which affect may be generated. Based on TPS, expressive deviations were measured on 23 recorded interpretations of Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata Op. 53. Two groups of university students (musically instructed, and musically naïf) were then asked to rate on a seven-point scale interpretations in which the existence or not of significant correlations between expressive deviations and music structure had been identified. Results show that interpretations in which such correlations occur are rated systematically higher than interpretations in which such correlations are not the case, both by musically instructed and naïf students. Findings suggest TPS sheds light on the understanding of expressive communication. Moreover, given that expressive deviations produced by performers are intentional and correlated to music structure, results point to a biunivocal relation between mimetic and rational elements and the embodied nature of musical communication and interaction.