Investigating Temporal and Melodic Aspects of Musical Imagery

Jakubowski, Kelly Joan. 2015. Investigating Temporal and Melodic Aspects of Musical Imagery. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Musical imagery, the mental replay of music in the absence of a perceived stimulus, is a common experience in the everyday lives of both musicians and non-musicians. The present research investigated aspects of the temporal and melodic content of musical imagery in an attempt to better understand factors underlying the genesis, stability, and potential functions of imagined music. Specifically, this research explored how factors such as one’s current state of mood and arousal, level of musical experience, self-reported imagery abilities, and the musical properties of a song itself can influence the generation and stability of a musical image. The first three studies of the thesis were conducted in a laboratory context, in which participants deliberately imagined familiar tunes. The second two studies extended existing quantitative methods to examine the experience of involuntary musical imagery—music that is recalled spontaneously and repetitively within the mind—in more naturalistic contexts. The findings of the research have revealed that factors known to affect time perception, such as physiological arousal, can affect tempo representations within both voluntarily and involuntary musical imagery. The recall of tempo for imagined songs that exist in definitive versions was found to be fairly veridical in both voluntary and involuntary imagery, although temporal veridicality was also influenced by motor engagement with the imagery, a participant’s musical background, and the original tempo of a song stimulus itself. Additionally, the occurrence of an involuntarily generated musical image was predicted by both extra-musical factors, such as song popularity, as well as intra-musical features related to a song’s melodic contour and tempo. The results of this research suggest several parallels between voluntarily and involuntarily generated musical imagery and contribute a variety of novel findings regarding features underlying the genesis and possible functions of musical imagery.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Music psychology, musical imagery, earworms, tempo

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31 October 2015

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Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2015 11:18

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:12


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