An Empirical Method for Measuring the Aesthetic Experience to Music
Journal of Research in Music Education
This study was designed to investigate empirically the “aesthetic experience” as individually defined by each subject. Subjects (N = 30) were faculty members and advanced graduate students at a large university school of music. Each subject listened to a 20-minute excerpt from Act I of Puccini's La Bohème and simultaneously manipulated the dial of a Continuous Response Digital Interface (CRDI) to indicate perceived aesthetic level. The CRDI dial represented a negative/positive continuum along a 256-degree arc. Data collected were charted graphically to indicate levels of aesthetic response across time. Subjects completed a questionnaire designed to estimate frequency, duration, location, and magnitude of perceived aesthetic experiences and also indicated whether dial manipulation roughly corresponded to these experiences. Results indicated that there were different responses throughout the excerpt by all subjects. Heightened aesthetic responses were evident during certain parts of the excerpt. “Peak experiences” were relatively short (15 seconds or less in duration), preceded by a period of concentrated focus of attention, and generally followed by an “afterglow” ranging from 15 seconds to several minutes. All subjects reported having at least one aesthetic experience and also reported that movement of the CRDI dial roughly approximated this experience. “Aesthetic responses” for subjects seemed to cluster at many of the same places in the music, with one collective “peak” experience that was represented by the highest and lowest dial movements. © 1993, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.
Madsen, C. K.,
Brittin, R. V.,
Capperella-Sheldon, D. A.
An Empirical Method for Measuring the Aesthetic Experience to Music.
Journal of Research in Music Education, 41(1), 57–69.