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The Child as MusicianA handbook of musical development$
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Gary McPherson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198530329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198530329.001.0001

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The Perception of Emotion in Music

The Perception of Emotion in Music

(p.193) Chapter 10 The Perception of Emotion in Music
The Child as Musician

Emery Schubert

Gary E. McPherson

Oxford University Press

At what age can children perceive emotion in music? How might this evolve as they mature? These two questions form the focus of this chapter which deals with the perception of emotion in music from birth to adolescence. Drawing on available evidence, it proposes a framework that can be used to understand how children develop their abilities to perceive emotion in music. It provides a definition for emotion and the mechanisms for connecting emotion and music before surveying the general development of emotional perception throughout childhood. The main part of this chapter draws on literature that helps explain how children perceive emotion in music rather than the emotion a child experiences in response to music. The theoretical position proposed here is that throughout childhood, different forces work in parallel in a spiral like manner and that decoding emotional information from music is a dynamic combination of one-to-one connections and general associations.

Keywords:   music emotion, music perception, musical culture, emotion in music, emotional information

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