As reported by a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, although sadness is an emotion we generally try to avoid, we seek it in music because "'musical emotion' encompasses both the felt emotion that the music induces in the listener and the perceived emotion that the listener judges the music to express."
Forty-four people served as participants in our experiment. We asked them to listen to one of three musical excerpts of approximately 30 seconds each. The excerpts were from Mikhail Glinkas La S?paration (F minor), Felix Blumenfelds Sur Mer (G minor) and Enrique Granadoss Allegro de Concierto (C sharp major, though the excerpt was in G major, which we transposed to G minor).
We were interested in the minor key because it is canonically associated with sad music, and we steered clear of well-known compositions to avoid interference from any personal memories related to the pieces.
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