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“Like static noise in a beautiful landscape”: A mixed-methods approach to rationales and features of disliked voices in popular music (Advance online publication)

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Merrill,  Julia
Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Institute of Music, University of Kassel;

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Ackermann,  Taren
Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Merrill, J., & Ackermann, T. (2020). “Like static noise in a beautiful landscape”: A mixed-methods approach to rationales and features of disliked voices in popular music (Advance online publication). Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. doi:10.1037/aca0000376.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-A076-F
Abstract
The use of the voice in everyday communication is vital for our understanding of human interaction. The singing of popular music often amplifies vocal features from speech, which can provide insights into vocal activity in the context of the intense emotional impact of music. Three studies with a mixed-methods approach aimed at evaluating rationales and features of disliked voices in the context of popular music. In an interview study (n = 20), rationales and features for disliked voices were identified using self-selected voices. In a group testing session (n = 48) and an online survey (n = 216), these disliked voices were presented to new participants, and the vocal features and evoked emotions by the singers were investigated, assuming that the participants did not have strong opinions about the voices. The results showed that participants justified their dislikes based on object-related/sound and emotional reasons, similar to findings from studies on musical taste. Specific features of disliked voices were confirmed in the following studies, including a specific feature of popular singing styles, the twang, perceived as a squeaky and nasal sound. Further disliked features include a pressed sound, imprecise and ordinary articulation, and a uniform expression. Notably, a rough voice was no predictor of aesthetic judgments. Evoked feelings relate to vocal features with similar tension levels. The measures created in the current study will also be informative for studying voice perception and evaluation more generally, which is a tool to evaluate vocal expression and items to evaluate reasons for disliked voices. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)