An Analysis of Agreement in Classical Music Perception and its Relationship to Listener Characteristics
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We present a study, carried out on 241 participants, which investigates on classical music material the agreement of listeners on perceptual music aspects (related to emotion, tempo, complexity, and instrumentation) and the relationship between listener characteristics and these aspects. For the currently popular task of music emotion recognition, the former question is particularly important when defining a ground truth of emotions perceived in a given music collection. We characterize listeners via a range of factors, including demographics, musical inclination, experience, and education, and personality traits. Participants rate the music material under investigation, i.e., 15 expert-defined segments of Beethoven’s 3rd symphony, “Eroica”, in terms of 10 emotions, perceived tempo, complexity, and number of instrument groups. Our study indicates only slight agreement on most perceptual aspects, but significant correlations between several listener characteristics and perceptual qualities.