Scarlet & Grey
Ohio State University
School of Music

Music and Emotion: Some Questions

General Questions Concerning Emotions
  1. What is an emotion?
  2. Why do emotions exist?
  3. How do emotions differ from moods, feelings, sentiments, or temperaments?
  4. How are emotions evoked?
  5. What is the role of imagination, thought, or social context in evoking or modifying emotions?
  6. Do people experience emotions the same way?
  7. What causes the peculiar and distinctive "feelings" associated with different emotions?
  8. Do animals have emotions?
  9. Do insects have emotions?
  10. Are emotions primarily intrinsic states of being? Or are they primarily communicative devices?
  11. Do different facial expressions mean the same thing in all cultures?
  12. Are emotions learned? Innate?
  13. How do emotions change from infancy to adulthood?
  14. What causes or evokes emotions?
  15. Are emotions discrete states or are the continuous shades?
  16. Are there "basic" emotions?
  17. Can we experience more than one emotion at once?
  18. Are there "fake" emotions?
  19. How does mental illness affect emotions?
  20. What is the relationship between emotion and the human body?
  21. How do various drugs evoke, suppress or modify emotions?
  22. Are there "inappropriate," "pathological" or "wrong" emotional experiences?
  23. Are people morally "responsible" for their emotions?
  24. Is pain an emotion?
  25. What is the relationship between emotion and spirituality?
  26. How can we study emotions?
Questions Pertaining to Music
  1. Is there a distinctive "aesthetic" emotion?
  2. How does music evoke emotions?
  3. Does music evoke emotions, or does it represent or portray emotions?
  4. Are there some emotions that cannot be evoked or represented by music -- such as shame or envy?
  5. Why does some music make us nostalgic?
  6. Why do people willingly listen to music that makes them sad?
  7. Does sad music really make listeners "sad"?
  8. What makes us hate some songs?
  9. How is it that some drugs can transform the emotional experience of music?
  10. Are the moods we experience from music related to personality?
  11. Can we experience musical emotions in the absence of sounds?
  12. How does our emotional relationship with music change as we grow up and grow old?
  13. Do women and men experience music differently?
  14. Do children experience the emotional dimensions to music the same way adults do?
  15. Can we hear/understand the music of another culture in the same way as people from that culture do?
  16. Are there certain life experiences (such as ecstasy or grief) that contribute to a person's understanding of music?
  17. What does a performer do to convey or enhance the emotional experience?
  18. Are there "universal" aspects of musical organization that convey or evoke particular emotions?
  19. Can one appreciate music without being emotionally involved?
  20. How does music heighten the emotional impact in film?
  21. What is the relationship between music and spirituality?
  22. How can we study music and emotion?

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