The Solo Response Project is a case study in how a listener responds to music in time. In the summer of 2012, the author undertook a month long experiment in which they recorded their own responses, both continuous ratings of felt emotion and a number of physiological measures, to an order-randomized playlist of 25 pieces in each of 24 sessions. The results are continuous data describing repeated listenings to a variety of musical works, in which we can assess the consistency and variability in a single listeners response to any particular piece.

Though an unconventional data set, it was collected with the goal of suggesting more detailed mechanisms for the relationship between subjective assessment and physiological measures of experience and relatively firmer grounds to explore the variables contributing to different responses from the same subject to a given performed auditory stimulus.

This blog shares analyses of phenomena in the data, whether patterns in responses across pieces or within.

To read more about the data collection.

About the author: Finn Upham is a PhD Candidate in Music Technology at New York University, currently funded by NSERC and Steinhardt. They have degrees in Mathematics, Music Theory, and Music Technology from McGill University, and have studied with psychologists and neuroscientists in Montreal and New York. They play many instruments, and have sung and danced to many kinds of music, but rarely well enough to be paid for the effort. The solo response project comes out of several years work on methodological issues in the investigation of emotional responses to music and inspired their PhD thesis on respiratory adaptation to heard music.

Finn is also dyslexic and has a horrible time editing: many apologies for errors, and if anything is incomprehensible, please comment or contact them to encourage a correction: finn (at) nyu dot edu

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