Music and Mood

Where Theory and Reality Meet
16 Sep, 2015

The affective aspect of music, often referred as music mood or emotion, has been recently recognized as an important factor in organizing and accessing music information. However, music mood is far from being well studied in information science. For example, there is no consensus on whether to use mood or emotion to refer the affective aspect of music. Also, the lack of consensus on music mood categories in the Music Information Retrieval (MIR) community makes it difficult to compare classification approaches developed in different laboratories. On the other hand, there is a rich literature in music psychology that has addressed many of the issues MIR researchers want to know. This research reviews theories in music psychology and summarizes fundamental insights that can help MIR researchers in interpreting music mood. In order to investigate whether classic theories are still applicable to today’s reality of music listening environment, this study also derives a set of music mood categories from social tags, using a combination of linguistic resources and human expertise, and compares it to music mood categories in psychological theories. The results verify that there are common grounds between theoretical music mood models and the reality of music listening, but theoretical models do not cover all mood categories emerged from social tags and thus need to be modified to better fit the reality of music listening.

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