ABSTRACT: Experimental enhancement of feelings of transcendence, tenderness and expression by music in Christian liturgical spaces Samantha López, Raquel Jiménez Pasalodos, Ana María Alarcón-Jiménez, Carlos Gutiérrez Cajaraville, Margarita Díaz-Andreu, Carles Escera In western cultures, when it comes to places of worship and liturgies, music, acoustics and architecture go hand in hand. In our study, we aimed to investigate whether the emotions naturally evoked by music are enhanced by the acoustics of the space where the music was composed to be played on. We explored whether the emotional response of naïve listeners to two vocal pieces from the Renaissance, one liturgical and one secular, convolved with the acoustic prints of four Christian temples from the United Kingdom, were modulated by the appropriate piece/space matching. In an alternative forced choice task, where participants had to indicate their preference for the original version of the pieces (not convolved with any temple-like acoustics) vs. the convolved version, no significant differences were found. However, in the tasks where participants rated a series of emotional scales in response to each piece and acoustic condition, the mixed-effects analyses performed on the results revealed several significances. We observed that, across pieces and spaces, participants found the temple-like acoustics as more transcendent, compared to the acoustics of the original version of the pieces. In addition, they rated the secular piece as more tender and the liturgical piece as more expressive in its original versions, compared to the convolved ones. We concluded that the acoustic signature of the four Christian temples caused an exaltation of certain emotions on listeners, although this effect was not necessarily associated to one or another musical genre.
“Experimental enhancement of feelings of transcendence, tenderness and expression by music in Christian liturgical spaces”
8-10 September 2021