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Human speech ‘cues’ may be key to understanding emotion in music

Dr. Michael Schutz, the director of McMaster’s MAPLE (Music, Acoustics, Perception & LEarning Lab), is leading a team studying the close parallels between emotional in speech and music. Dr. Schutz and his researchers are trying to unlock the question of why music listeners have emotional responses to music.

“What we found was, I believe, new evidence that individual composers tend to use cues in their music paralleling the use of these cues in emotional speech.” For example, major key or “happy” pieces are higher and faster than minor key or “sad” pieces.

Read more about their work on the McMaster Daily News or visit Dr. Schutz’ MAPLE Lab website for more information about the group.