Music is a vital aspect of life as we know it, in part due to the emotion it conveys. This paper examines the current ideas and theories regarding how music conveys emotion, and some of the varying opinions regarding this issue. Some experts argue that emotion is induced in the listener, while others argue that it is merely perceived, although all agree it is at least conveyed in a way that can be accurately interpreted by the listener. Both musicological and psychological research have demonstrated that the emotion can be perceived cross-culturally and in populations that otherwise may have difficulties determining emotion from outside sources or interpreting music. Various structural cues inherent in a piece of music, performance cues that can vary from performance to performance, and contextual cues which can vary from listener to listener combine to create a cohesive emotional listening experience for all types of listeners. This paper examines the research on both sides of the induction/perception argument, while also examining their overlap to develop a complete understanding of how music conveys emotions, and why music plays such as huge role in society. This paper was written for MUS 475, Contemporary Social Issues in Music.
This is the third place winner in the 2017 competition,