Different moment, different tune : how emotional perception of music changes with the time of day
According to the classical music tradition of Northern India, the ability of a song to induce certain emotions depends on the time of day: playing a song at the right time is said to maximise its emotional effect. Transposing this idea into a Western context, I decided to investigate this claim by combining findings in chronobiology with findings in music and emotion. It has already been established that our mood fluctuations follow a cyclical pattern. Besides, it is a known fact that our current mood influences our ability to perceive emotions. However, no one has ever linked these elements together and studied diurnal mood variations and their effect on perceived emotions in music. To test the hypothesis of a link between the two, I played Western film music excerpts to 36 participants at two different times, and asked them to rate the perceived emotions. The results show that sad and tender clips were rated higher on sadness and tenderness in the morning compared to the afternoon. Furthermore, the more tired the participants were, the higher was their perception of fear in angry and fearful music. Looking at conventional medicine, chronopharmacology has already shown that the effects of a drug or the results of a medical test vary depending on when they are administered. Similarly, I believe that by adding the time factor to the planning and interpretation of music therapy sessions, their health benefits could be increased. This last point would need to be investigated further and could be the focus of future studies. ...
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