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Free Choice Profiling and Natural Grouping as Methods for the Assessment of Emotions in Musical Audio Signals

To measure the perceived emotions caused by musical audio signals we propose to use “Free Choice Profiling” (FCP) combined with “Natural Grouping” (NG). FCP/NG – originally derived from food research and new to the research of music perception – allow participants to evaluate stimuli using own vocabulary. To evaluate the proposed methods, we conducted an experiment in which 16 participants had to assess major-major and minor-minor chord pairs. Unlike one could expect, allowing participants to express their perception freely does not lead to a degeneration of the quality of the data. Instead, clearly interpretable results consistent with music theory and emotional psychology were obtained. These results encourage further investigations, which could lead to a general method for assessing emotions in music.

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