Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Edward A, Roth, M.M.

Second Advisor

Brian Wilson

Third Advisor

Dr. David Code

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Studies in the literature have been conducted that seem to establish that humans make consistent and similar emotional judgments when they are asked to describe an emotion that is being expressed musically. The present study targets four musical elements; harmony, melodic line, rhythmic variation, and expressive elements, to investigate which of these musical elements are most effective for influencing a listener to be able to recognize the composer's intended emotion of the music. There are eight original songs composed by the researcher, each song is assigned a specific intended emotional term. The eight songs are presented in five distinct conditions, a baseline condition and four manipulations of the baseline, wherein one of the targeted musical elements was removed from the music for each manipulation. Volunteer subjects are presented with forty (40) quasi-randomized audio presentations on a website survey, and are asked to select one emotional term that they feel the composer was intending to convey. Results are tested with Cramer's V chi square to measure the association that each musical element has with the emotional judgment of the listeners.

Included in

Music Therapy Commons