The aim of this study was to investigate how the quality of performances influences listeners’ music-evoked emotions. Specifically, the study examined the effects of performance variations at three levels of proficiency (plain, semiprofessional, professional) on liking and felt emotion. It also explored interactions between performance and listener attributes known to modulate musical emotion induction.
Study 1 involved 207 participants who listened to music excerpts performed at different levels of proficiency. Pairwise differences between each performance condition were examined, along with interaction effects with listener attributes, such as musical expertise. Pretesting of the stimuli was conducted prior to the study. In Study 2, 143 participants listened to all three versions of a selection of music excerpts used in Study 1. Multilevel modeling was used to analyze the data in Study 2, exploring the interaction effects between performance and listener attributes, including musical expertise, musical aptitude, personality factors, and current mood state.
Across both studies, the results consistently demonstrated that liking and the intensity of emotion increased as the performance quality improved. Additionally, Performance × Listener Features interactions were found, indicating that the emotional effect of the performance condition was amplified in participants with higher musical expertise and aptitude.
This study addresses the gap in knowledge regarding the influence of performance quality on music-evoked emotions. By examining the specific role of performance features, the study provides valuable insights into the factors involved in musical emotion induction.
Vigl, J., & Zentner, M. (2023). How much does performance quality matter in musical emotion induction? Main effects and interaction effects with listener features. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/aca0000590