ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 70-78.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00070

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The influences of auditory cues and individual differences on the processing of musical tension

SUN Lijun1,2, MA Xiaolong2,3, YANG Yufang2()   

  1. 1College of Art, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, 211106, China
    2CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-04-03 Online:2021-01-15 Published:2020-11-23
  • Contact: YANG Yufang


The pattern of tension-relaxation is an essential component in music. Musical tension, building a bridge between objective sound and subjective experience, is important for the generation of musical emotion. On the one hand, musical tension is influenced by acoustic elements and structural organizations of tonal hierarchy, which is supported by theoretic models and empirical studies. On the other hand, musical tension experienced by listeners is also affected by individual differences, such as cultural background and musical ability. Future studies should pay more attention to musical tension induced by temporal structure and large-scale tonal structure. Meanwhile, the mechanism of tension induction also needs to be examined, which will be helpful to deepen our understanding of tension and emotion processing in music.

Key words: musical tension, tonal structure, acoustic elements, cultural background, music ability

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