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Space–Emotion in Acousmatic Music

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 November 2017

Federico Schumacher Ratti*
Universidad Diego Portales, Grajales 1746, Santiago de Chile
Claudio Fuentes Bravo*
Universidad Diego Portales, Grajales 1746, Santiago de Chile


This article presents a multimodal exploratory study aimed at searching for evidence that can guide us in the adoption and/or improvement of appropriate theoretical–methodological approaches for studying the role of the spatiality/spatialisation of sound and the cognitive/affective empathic processes involved in the acousmatic experience. For this purpose, controlled listening sessions were conducted in which fragments of different loudspeaker music were presented. The subjects reported their emotional experience and the degree of familiarity they assigned to each sound fragment. Specific questions for the acousmatic fragments inquire into the potential relationships between the sound stimulus and the emotion declared by the subjects. From these experiences, qualitative reports were obtained through a semi-structured interview, and electrodermal activity (EDA) logs were recorded in parallel for an intended group. Based on these results, it is argued that spatiality might be linked to a complex cognitive–affective response from the listeners and emerges as a distinctive element of the meaning that the listeners ascribe to their acousmatic musical experience.

© Cambridge University Press 2017 

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