Completed theses

null Kind of blue: Emotions experienced in relation to nominally sad music

Peltola, Henna-Riikka
23 Jan 2016 - 00:00:00

The work investigates emotions evoked by music listening from various perspectives. The research focused on the listeners' subjective experiences of listening to self-defined sad music (i.e. music that sounds sad or is otherwise associated with sadness). The work comprises four studies, each investigating different aspects of these emotional experiences. Study I addressed this issue by examining the metaphorical language used for describing such experiences. In Study II, the descriptions were classified into three types of "sadness" that differed depending on the valence and arousal of the overall experience and the contextual aspects. Study III explored the attitudes towards sad music and involved a representative sample of the Finnish population. Study IV investigated the ways in which people share their experiences with other people listening to the same piece of nominally sad music. The main findings of every study contributed to the larger picture of experiences related to sad music. The shared metaphorical language used in communicating experiences to others revealed deeper, socio-culturally shared structures of experiences. The classification of different kinds of "sadness" gave rise to different contextual aspects of conceptualisation that affect the experiences. Concerning the attitudes towards sad music, by using a representative sample of population, the aspects of previous studies were tested on a larger scale. Besides verifying the existence of the phenomenon, identifying the contextual and preferential aspects made the claim of (social) context even stronger. Finally, by examining the ways in which people negotiate the socially shared meanings of these kinds of emotional experiences, this study revealed new aspects of conceptualisation (both music and emotion) that affected the listeners' experiences. In sum, the current work paints a more comprehensive picture of the myriad ways in which people experience, conceptualise, and share emotions associated with nominally sad music than the previous studies on music and sadness.

Published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Humanities number 278, 61 p., Jyväskylä 2016, ISSN: 1459-4323, 278 (nid.) ISSN 1459–4331; 278 (PDF) ISBN: 978-951-39-6462-7 (nid.), 978-951-39-6463-4 (PDF). Available from the Jyväskylä University library publication unit, The pdf version can be accessed here.

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Henna-Riikka Peltola