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The Emotional Power of MusicMultidisciplinary perspectives on musical arousal, expression, and social control$
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Tom Cochrane, Bernardino Fantini, and Klaus R. Scherer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654888.001.0001

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Rhythmic entrainment as a mechanism for emotion induction by music

Rhythmic entrainment as a mechanism for emotion induction by music

a neurophysiological perspective

Chapter:
(p.213) Chapter 16Rhythmic entrainment as a mechanism for emotion induction by music
Source:
The Emotional Power of Music
Author(s):

Wiebke Trost

Patrik Vuilleumier

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654888.003.0016

Music is a form of art that lives in the time domain. Therefore, likewise, the appreciation of music fluctuates over time and affects the listener in a dynamic, time-varying fashion. As most music is based on a metrical structure, music is thought to let different rhythms in the brain and the body resonate and eventually tune these internal rhythms into alignment with the same periodicities presented in the temporal structure of the music. In this chapter we discuss this notion of ‘rhythmic entrainment’ and its role as a possible mechanism of emotion induction via music listening. We will describe the processes that take place in the brain when rhythmic aspects in the music are perceived and show how these processes may interact with the production of emotions. Furthermore, a distinction between rhythmic entrainment processes at different levels is suggested, including the perceptual, the physiological, the motor and the social levels. We review the existing neuroscience approaches in the music literature to answer the question of how the temporal structure of music influences perceptions and affective reactions. We conclude that the mere processing of timing features in the music (such as rhythms) can trigger specific neural processes, which contribute to the induction of certain emotional states. However we also underscore that this does not represent an automatism and argue that subjective aspects like musical preferences, familiarity, and training can act as important modulators.

Keywords:   Music, emotion, rhythm, timing, contagion, entrainment, neuroscience, physiology

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