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The Emotional Power of MusicMultidisciplinary perspectives on musical arousal, expression, and social control$
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Tom Cochrane, Bernardino Fantini, and Klaus R. Scherer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654888

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654888.001.0001

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Music-to-listener emotional contagion

Music-to-listener emotional contagion

(p.169) Chapter 13Music-to-listener emotional contagion
The Emotional Power of Music

Stephen Davies

Oxford University Press

The author advocates the notion that music elicits emotion through a process of emotional contagion, defined as a ‘mirroring’ response in which the listener is moved to feel the emotion that the music expresses. In this chapter the author develops this notion and contrasts it with various psychological theories of imitation or mimicry. In particular, the crucial idea concerning what is intentional object of a musically induced emotion must be examined. It is argued that the music is not the emotional object of the response because the listener does not believe anything of the music that would make it the intentional object of a sad response, namely, that the music is unfortunate, suffering, or regrettable.

Keywords:   Music, emotion, contagion, mirroring, imitation, intentional object, cognitive theories

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