Atonal Music: Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure?

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Atonal Music : Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure? / Mencke, Iris; Omigie, Diana; Wald-Fuhrmann, Melanie; Brattico, Elvira.

In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, Vol. 12, No. 979, 979, 08.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Harvard

Mencke, I, Omigie, D, Wald-Fuhrmann, M & Brattico, E 2019, 'Atonal Music: Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure?', Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 12, no. 979, 979. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00979

APA

Mencke, I., Omigie, D., Wald-Fuhrmann, M., & Brattico, E. (2019). Atonal Music: Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure? Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12(979), [979]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00979

CBE

Mencke I, Omigie D, Wald-Fuhrmann M, Brattico E. 2019. Atonal Music: Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure?. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 12(979):Article 979. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00979

MLA

Mencke, Iris et al. "Atonal Music: Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure?". Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2019. 12(979). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00979

Vancouver

Mencke I, Omigie D, Wald-Fuhrmann M, Brattico E. Atonal Music: Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure? Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2019 Jan 8;12(979). 979. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00979

Author

Mencke, Iris ; Omigie, Diana ; Wald-Fuhrmann, Melanie ; Brattico, Elvira. / Atonal Music : Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure?. In: Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2019 ; Vol. 12, No. 979.

Bibtex

@article{e952dac510e64c5a8b228fab7c2b6cb6,
title = "Atonal Music: Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure?",
abstract = "In recent years, the field of neuroaesthetics has gained considerable attention with music being a favored object of study. The majority of studies concerning music have, however, focused on the experience of Western tonal music (TM), which is characterized by tonal hierarchical organization, a high degree of consonance, and a tendency to provide the listener with a tonic as a reference point during the listening experience. We argue that a narrow focus on Western TM may have led to a one-sided view regarding the qualities of the aesthetic experience of music since Western art music from the 20th and 21st century like atonal music (AM) - while lacking a tonal hierarchical structure, and while being highly dissonant and hard to predict - is nevertheless enjoyed by a group of avid listeners. We propose a research focus that investigates, in particular, the experience of AM as a novel and compelling way with which to enhance our understanding of both the aesthetic appreciation of music and the role of predictive models in the context of musical pleasure. We use music theoretical analysis and music information retrieval methods to demonstrate how AM presents the listener with a highly uncertain auditory environment. Specifically, an analysis of a corpus of 100 musical segments is used to illustrate how tonal classical music and AM differ quantitatively in terms of both key and pulse clarity values. We then examine person related, extrinsic and intrinsic factors, that point to potential mechanisms underlying the appreciation and pleasure derived from AM. We argue that personality traits like {"}openness to experience,{"} the framing of AM as art, and the mere exposure effect are key components of such mechanisms. We further argue that neural correlates of uncertainty estimation could represent a central mechanism for engaging with AM and that such contexts engender a comparatively weak predictive model in the listener. Finally we argue that in such uncertain contexts, correct predictions may be more subjectively rewarding than prediction errors since they signal to the individual that their predictive model is improving.",
keywords = "atonal music, pleasure, uncertainty, predictive coding, aesthetic experience, VIENNA INTEGRATED MODEL, ART PERCEPTION VIMAP, BRAIN RESPONSES, AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE, EMOTIONAL RESPONSES, TONAL HIERARCHIES, MISMATCH NEGATIVITY, ASTONISH ME, TOP-DOWN, MOVE ME",
author = "Iris Mencke and Diana Omigie and Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann and Elvira Brattico",
year = "2019",
month = jan,
day = "8",
doi = "10.3389/fnins.2018.00979",
language = "English",
volume = "12",
journal = "Frontiers in Neuroscience",
issn = "1662-4548",
publisher = "Frontiers Research Foundation",
number = "979",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Atonal Music

T2 - Can Uncertainty Lead to Pleasure?

AU - Mencke, Iris

AU - Omigie, Diana

AU - Wald-Fuhrmann, Melanie

AU - Brattico, Elvira

PY - 2019/1/8

Y1 - 2019/1/8

N2 - In recent years, the field of neuroaesthetics has gained considerable attention with music being a favored object of study. The majority of studies concerning music have, however, focused on the experience of Western tonal music (TM), which is characterized by tonal hierarchical organization, a high degree of consonance, and a tendency to provide the listener with a tonic as a reference point during the listening experience. We argue that a narrow focus on Western TM may have led to a one-sided view regarding the qualities of the aesthetic experience of music since Western art music from the 20th and 21st century like atonal music (AM) - while lacking a tonal hierarchical structure, and while being highly dissonant and hard to predict - is nevertheless enjoyed by a group of avid listeners. We propose a research focus that investigates, in particular, the experience of AM as a novel and compelling way with which to enhance our understanding of both the aesthetic appreciation of music and the role of predictive models in the context of musical pleasure. We use music theoretical analysis and music information retrieval methods to demonstrate how AM presents the listener with a highly uncertain auditory environment. Specifically, an analysis of a corpus of 100 musical segments is used to illustrate how tonal classical music and AM differ quantitatively in terms of both key and pulse clarity values. We then examine person related, extrinsic and intrinsic factors, that point to potential mechanisms underlying the appreciation and pleasure derived from AM. We argue that personality traits like "openness to experience," the framing of AM as art, and the mere exposure effect are key components of such mechanisms. We further argue that neural correlates of uncertainty estimation could represent a central mechanism for engaging with AM and that such contexts engender a comparatively weak predictive model in the listener. Finally we argue that in such uncertain contexts, correct predictions may be more subjectively rewarding than prediction errors since they signal to the individual that their predictive model is improving.

AB - In recent years, the field of neuroaesthetics has gained considerable attention with music being a favored object of study. The majority of studies concerning music have, however, focused on the experience of Western tonal music (TM), which is characterized by tonal hierarchical organization, a high degree of consonance, and a tendency to provide the listener with a tonic as a reference point during the listening experience. We argue that a narrow focus on Western TM may have led to a one-sided view regarding the qualities of the aesthetic experience of music since Western art music from the 20th and 21st century like atonal music (AM) - while lacking a tonal hierarchical structure, and while being highly dissonant and hard to predict - is nevertheless enjoyed by a group of avid listeners. We propose a research focus that investigates, in particular, the experience of AM as a novel and compelling way with which to enhance our understanding of both the aesthetic appreciation of music and the role of predictive models in the context of musical pleasure. We use music theoretical analysis and music information retrieval methods to demonstrate how AM presents the listener with a highly uncertain auditory environment. Specifically, an analysis of a corpus of 100 musical segments is used to illustrate how tonal classical music and AM differ quantitatively in terms of both key and pulse clarity values. We then examine person related, extrinsic and intrinsic factors, that point to potential mechanisms underlying the appreciation and pleasure derived from AM. We argue that personality traits like "openness to experience," the framing of AM as art, and the mere exposure effect are key components of such mechanisms. We further argue that neural correlates of uncertainty estimation could represent a central mechanism for engaging with AM and that such contexts engender a comparatively weak predictive model in the listener. Finally we argue that in such uncertain contexts, correct predictions may be more subjectively rewarding than prediction errors since they signal to the individual that their predictive model is improving.

KW - atonal music

KW - pleasure

KW - uncertainty

KW - predictive coding

KW - aesthetic experience

KW - VIENNA INTEGRATED MODEL

KW - ART PERCEPTION VIMAP

KW - BRAIN RESPONSES

KW - AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE

KW - EMOTIONAL RESPONSES

KW - TONAL HIERARCHIES

KW - MISMATCH NEGATIVITY

KW - ASTONISH ME

KW - TOP-DOWN

KW - MOVE ME

U2 - 10.3389/fnins.2018.00979

DO - 10.3389/fnins.2018.00979

M3 - Journal article

VL - 12

JO - Frontiers in Neuroscience

JF - Frontiers in Neuroscience

SN - 1662-4548

IS - 979

M1 - 979

ER -