Structural factors in preschool children's emotional expression in music
OppiaineMusic, Mind and Technology (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Music, Mind and Technology
Recent studies have substantiated that preschool children are able to perceive the emotional meaning in music. However, to date, research has not paid enough attention to children’s emotional expression in music. The current study investigated 3- (N=18) and 5- (N=19) year-old children’s ability to express emotion with music by manipulating musical factors (pitch, loudness and tempo) to indicate one of three basic emotions (happiness, sadness or angriness). In order to facilitate the recognition of emotions three images of faces were presented representing target emotions. Three musical pieces differing in terms of emotional quality were presented in random order and participants were asked to manipulate musical factors in order to make each song sound happy, sad and angry. After the experiment participants were asked how they think they managed with the task given. The aim of the current study was to investigate if preschool children are able to communicate emotions through music. A secondary goal was to compare the results by means of age, gender and musical background. The results of the current study were in agreement with previous studies claiming that young children are capable to distinct the happiness, sadness and angriness in music and the results showed differences between emotions in each of the musical factors (pitch, loudness and tempo). The comparison between genders and age groups of 3- and 5-year-old did not show notable differences but interestingly, significant differences were found between the children who had former musical background and children who did not have any musical background.
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