The Effect of Repetition and Expertise on Liking and Complexity in Contemporary Music

Valerio Velardo, Mauro Vallati

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Aesthetic perception of music has been extensively researched in the last decades. Numerous studies suggest that listeners find a piece of music more or less pleasant according to its complexity. Experimental results show that complexity and liking have different relationship according to the musical genre examined, and that these two variables are also affected by other factors such as familiarity to the music and expertise of the listener. Although previous experiments have examined several genres such as jazz, pop, rock and bluegrass, surprisingly, no study has focused on contemporary music. In this paper, we fill this gap by studying the relationships between complexity, liking, musical training and familiarity in the case of contemporary music. By analysing this genre – which is usually underrepresented in music cognition – it is possible to shed some light on the correlation between liking and complexity in the case of highly complex music. To obtain data, a multifactor experiment was designed in which both music experts and novices had to provide scores of subjective complexity and liking for four 30-second long excerpts of contemporary music with different degrees of complexity. Empirical results suggest that liking and complexity are negatively correlated in the case of contemporary music and that listeners’ expertise does not influence the perceived complexity of musical pieces, but it can significantly affect liking. This possibly indicates that experts have the musical knowledge needed to appreciate extremely complex music, while novices do not.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
EditorsJane Ginsborg, Alexandra Lamont, Stephanie Bramleu
Pages810-815
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventNinth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music - Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Aug 201522 Aug 2015
http://www.escom.org/conferences-triennial.html (Link to Conference Website)

Conference

ConferenceNinth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
Abbreviated titleESCOM 2015
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityManchester
Period17/08/1522/08/15
OtherThe six days of the conference promise a wealth of wonderful experiences: presentations by four distinguished keynote speakers and two recipients of early-career researcher awards, and – in addition to three symposia and three workshops – no fewer than 49 parallel paper sessions and two large poster sessions. The research to be reported and disseminated at the conference has been undertaken within a variety of disciplines including artificial intelligence, cognitive science, education, health and wellbeing, linguistics, music theory, music therapy, neuroscience, philosophy, psychoacoustics, psychology and psychophysics. It is particularly pleasing, given that the conference is taking place in a conservatoire, that different facets of performance and composition, as well as musical development and music learning, are popular topics.
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    Velardo, V., & Vallati, M. (2015). The Effect of Repetition and Expertise on Liking and Complexity in Contemporary Music. In J. Ginsborg, A. Lamont, & S. Bramleu (Eds.), Proceedings of the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (pp. 810-815)