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The Emotional Characteristics of Bowed String Instruments with Different Pitch and Dynamics

Chau, Chuck-jee, Gilburt, Samuel, Mo, Ronald and Horner, Andrew (2017) The Emotional Characteristics of Bowed String Instruments with Different Pitch and Dynamics. Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, 65 (7/8). pp. 573-588. ISSN 15494950

Item Type: Article


Previous research has shown that different musical instrument sounds have strong emotional characteristics. This paper investigates how emotional characteristics vary with pitch and dynamics within the bowed string instrument family. We conducted listening tests to compare the effects of pitch and dynamics on the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Listeners compared the sounds pairwise over 10 emotional categories. Results showed that the emotional characteristics Happy, Heroic, Romantic, Comic, and Calm generally increased with pitch but decreased at the highest pitches. Angry and Sad generally decreased with pitch. Scary was strong in the extreme low and high registers, while Shy and Mysterious were unaffected by pitch. For dynamics, the results showed that Heroic, Comic, and Angry were stronger for loud notes, while Romantic, Calm, Shy, Sad, and the high register for Happy were stronger for soft notes. Scary and Mysterious were unaffected by dynamics. The results also showed significant differences between different bowed string instruments on notes of the same pitch and dynamic level. These results help quantify our understanding of the relative emotional characteristics of the strings. They provide audio engineers and musicians with suggestions for emphasizing emotional characteristics of the bowed strings in sound recordings and performances.

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More Information

Depositing User: Ronald Mo


Item ID: 15805
Identification Number:
ISSN: 15494950
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Ronald Mo: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2023 16:47
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 16:47


Author: Ronald Mo ORCID iD
Author: Chuck-jee Chau
Author: Samuel Gilburt
Author: Andrew Horner

University Divisions

Faculty of Technology > School of Computer Science


Performing Arts > Music

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