Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if music and non-music majors’ aesthetic responses are differentiated by gradually changing pitch center conditions. One hundred and forty-four university students listened to a professional recording of the second movement of Samuel Barbers Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 14 altered to have a gradually rising (sharper) or lowering (flatter) pitch center changing at a rate of 1/100 of a semitone (1 cent) per second. Participants recorded their aesthetic responses using a Continuous Response Digital Interface (CRDI). Results of a two-way ANOVA indicated a significant main effect for pitch condition and an interaction effect for major and pitch condition. Mean aesthetic response scores for music and non-music majors hearing the gradually flatter performance were lower than those for the unaltered condition. There was little difference in the scores of non-music majors between the gradually sharper and unaltered conditions, however, music majors’ mean scores were lower under the gradually sharper condition.

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