Though previous research has shown the effects of reverberation on clarity, spaciousness, and other perceptual aspects of music, it is still largely unknown to what extent reverberation influences the emotional characteristics of musical instrument sounds. This paper investigates the effect of simple parametric reverberation on music emotion, in particular, the effect of reverberation length and amount. We conducted a listening test to compare the effect of reverberation on the emotional characteristics of eight instrument sounds representing the wind and bowed string families. We compared these sounds over eight emotional categories. We found that reverberation length and amount had a strongly significant effect on the emotional characteristics Romantic and Mysterious and a medium effect on Sad, Scary, and Heroic for the samples we tested. Interestingly, for Comic, reverberation length and amount had the opposite effect; that is, anechoic tones were judged most Comic. Reverb had a mild effect on Happy and relatively little effect on Shy. These results give audio engineers and musicians an interesting perspective on simple parametric artificial reverberation.
INTRODUCTIONPrevious research has shown that musical instrument sounds have strong and distinctive emotional characteristics . For example, that the trumpet is happier in character than the horn, even in isolated sounds apart from musical context.In light of this, one might wonder what effect reverberation has on the character of music emotion. This leads to a host of follow-up questions: Do all emotional characteristics become stronger with more reverberation? Or, are some emotional characteristics affected more and others less (e.g., positive emotional characteristics more, negative less)? In particular, what are the effects of reverberation time and amount? What are the effects of hall size and listener position? Which instruments sound emotionally stronger to listeners in the front or back of small and large halls? Are dry sounds without reverberation emotionally dry as well, or, do they have distinctive emotional characteristics?We cannot address all of the above questions definitively in this paper with only a simple parametric reverberator and a few parameter settings, but we can make a good start. This work will give audio engineers and musicians an interesting perspective on simple parametric artificial reverberation. More studies with different reverberation models and parameters should be carried out to get more definitive answers. Understanding how listeners perceive emotional characteristics in reverberation can help us engineer potentially even more expressive recordings and opens new possibilities for interactive music systems and applications.
Music Emotion and TimbrePrevious work has investigated emotion recognition in music, especially addressing melody , harmony [7,8], rhythm [9,10], lyrics , and localization cues . Similarly, researchers have found timbre to be useful in a number of applications such ...