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Tonal modulation is one of the main structural and expressive aspects of music in the European musical tradition. Experiment 1 investigated affective responses to modulations to all eleven major and minor keys (relative to the starting tonality) in brief, specially constructed harmonic progressions, by using six bipolar scales related to valence, potency, and synaesthesia. The results indicated the dependence of affective response on degree of modulation in terms of key proximity, and of mode. Experiment 2 examined affective responses to the most common modulations in nineteenth-century piano music: to the subdominant, dominant, and minor sixth in the major mode. The stimuli were a balanced set of both harmonic progressions (as in Experiment 1) and real music excerpts. The results agreed with theoretical models of violations of expectancy and of proximity based on the circle of fifths, and demonstrated the influence of melodic direction and musical style on emotional response to tonal modulation.

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Originally published in Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 24(1), 4-20. This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. The original material can be found here: doi:10.1037/pmu0000029



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