Colloque Le Pouvoir Emotionnel de la Musique / Emotional Power of Music

10-11 et 12 décembre 2014 / December 10-12, 2014
Campus Biotech

Ch. Des Mines 9
1211 Genève 20

Avec le jeudi 11 décembre à 19h30 un concert du:

Quatuor Terpsycordes,
Œuvres de / Works of Haydn, Ligeti, Schubert


Program in English: click here

Entrée libre au colloque et au concert  

Entry is free both for the colloquium and the concert

Le colloque scientifique s’adresse plus particulièrement à un public ayant des connaissances sur la recherche actuelle menée en musique et émotion.
Une étude sur les émotions est prévue pendant le concert. Les modalités de cette expérience seront présentées à 19h30 juste avant le concert. Les personnes intéressées seront invitées à y participer.

The scientific presentations are directed particularly to an audience with strong interest and some background on research on music and emotion and will be held in English.
An experimental part on emotions will take place during the concert, to which you can choose to participate. The details about the experiment will be described a few days before the concert in a further email to the registered participants.


Programme du Colloque (en anglais)

This is a sequel to a colloquium on the emotional power of music held in Geneva in 2009 which lead to the publication of a book on this issue (Cochrane, T., Fantini, B., & Scherer, K. R., Eds., 2013, The emotional power of music. Oxford: Oxford University Press). The 2014 colloquium again brings together an interdisciplinary group of scientists (from musicology, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience) studying music and emotions. The following issues will be discussed during the three days:

  • The relationship between emotions expressed or represented in music and emotions induced or aroused by music
  • Induction or arousal mechanisms: Entrainment, empathy and aesthetic appraisal
  • The elements of music able to represent, express or induce emotions (rhythm, melody, harmony, form, etc.)
  • The role of the interpreter in the representation and induction of emotions
  • The effects of musical genre (instrumental vs. vocal music) and historical traditions (baroque, classical, contemporary music) on induction mechanisms
  • The role of listener background factors – such as age, musical knowledge, preferences and experiences; cultural background, personality, psychological attitude

Wednesday December 10, 2014 (Campus Biotech; Room H8-01 144.175)

13:00 – 13:30Welcome at Campus Biotech
13:30 – 14:30Prof. Klaus Scherer - Introduction: Assessing music-induced emotions
14:30 – 15:30Prof. John Sloboda - Enhancing audience engagement in live concerts through deepening access to performers and composers
15:30 – 16:00Coffee break
16:00 – 17:00Prof. Luca Zoppelli - Passions utiles and maledizioni: emotional states and affect bursts in operatic expression
17:00 – 18:00Dr. Renee Timmers - Aesthetic and referential emotion in music performance


Thursday December 11, 2014, Morning (Campus Biotech, Auditorium)

09:00 – 10:00Prof. Ulrich Mosch - Emotions in recent art music - reflections from the perspective of an historian
10:00 – 11:00Prof. Stefan Koelsch - A new theory of musical tension
11:00 – 11:15Coffee break
11:15 – 12:15Prof. Jenefer Robinson - The expression and arousal of emotion in music: the hard case of cognitively complex emotions
12:15 – 13:15Prof. Tuomas Eerola - Emotion recognition reveals embodied simulation of musical emotions
13:15 – 14:15 Lunch break


Thursday December 11, 2014, Afternoon (Concert hall, Studio Ernest Ansermet, Passage de la Radio 2, 1205 Geneva; across from the new Ethnological Museum)

15:00 – 18:00Afternoon session: Preparation of the “experimental concert” with the Quatuor Terpsycordes: Discussion between musicians, scientists, and music listeners


Thursday December 11, 2014, Evening (Concert hall, Studio Ernest Ansermet, Passage de la Radio 2, 1205 Geneva)

19:30 – 22:30Experimental Concert by the Quatuor Terpsycordes:
Haydn, Quatuor op. 50 n° 5 en fa majeur, Le Rêve
Ligeti, Quatuor n° 1, Métamorphoses nocturnes
Schubert, Quatuor à cordes, n° 14 en ré mineur, D. 810 (La jeune fille et la mort)


Friday December 12, 2014  (Campus Biotech, Auditorium)

9:00 – 10:00Prof. Bernardino Fantini - Summary and outlook
10:00 – 13:00Presentation and discussion of first results of the experimental concert



Klaus Scherer - Introduction: Assessing music-induced emotions

After a brief introduction to the major themes of the colloquium, many of which emerged from the earlier colloquium in 2009 and the subsequent book publication, I will treat the central issue of the nature of aesthetic emotions, particularly in the case of musical performances. Emphasis will be given to the empirical measurement of music-induced emotions, providing examples from the recent activities of our group in this domain.

John Sloboda – Enhancing audience engagement in live concerts through deepening access to performers and composers

For a number of years, a group of staff at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama have been experimenting with the potentialities of deepening the connection between those on stage and those in the audience through the use of "enriching" processes which extend outside the space-time boundaries of the live concert itself.  These have included audience attendance at rehearsals, participation in "meet the composer/performer" pre-sessions, and post-concert feedback sessions where audiences are invited to articulate their experiences for the benefit of the musicians and each other.
Some examples of this work will be described, together with the exploratory and evaluative research on their impact.  This will include an account of an audience-development project undertaken in collaboration with one of Britain's premier contemporary chamber orchestras, Britten Sinfonia.  In this project 50 "audience consultants" were invited to participate in a season-long journey which involved a range of interactive sessions, focussed on two contrasting concerts.   In the context of this seminar, concentration will be given to the impact of these surrounding activities on the experience of the music itself, cognitive, aesthetic, and emotional.  The data we have collected so far shows that, while these activities certainly change the experience of the performance itself in significant respects, the unfamiliarity of these activities - at least in the British classical music world - has led to a range of challenges that musicians, promoters and venue managers, as well as researchers, need to address if such events are to realise their full potential for enhancing the experience of everyone concerned.

Luca Zoppelli – Passions utiles and maledizioni: emotional episodes and affect bursts in operatic expression

Different ways of representing emotion on the operatic stage, such as long arias in eighteenth-century opera seria or parole sceniche in nineteenth-century music drama, are currently viewed as the result of (more or less) artificial stylistic and aesthetic choices, as well as the product of different spectacular systems and sets of conventions. This is no doubt correct. Nonetheless, the different conceptions of emotion these choices refer to are also rooted in the phenomenology of emotion itself: psychologists often make a distinction between sudden emotional episodes involving strong bodily and vocal responses (‘affect bursts’) and protracted emotional episodes with strong cognitive, self-regulating and social components. Enlightenment and Romantic dramaturgies differ less in the degree of psychological “realism” than in the choice of which components of affective life will be highlighted for operatic expression.

Renee Timmers – Aesthetic and referential emotion in music performance

In this talk, I bring together and discuss examples of expressive variations in music performance that have been interpreted as abstract and non-referential, and that have been interpreted as referential, with particular emotional meaning. Examples are taken from the recently published edited volume on “Expressiveness in Music Performance: Empirical Approaches Across Styles and Cultures”, and from work that I did in collaboration with Zohar Eitan (under review) on “Cross-modal correspondences and affect in a Schubert Song”. I will consider the role of cross-modal associations for the emotional impact of performance and will argue for the need to consider these in models of emotion representation in music. Cross-modal correspondences with sounds provide references without constraining meaning to discrete emotions, addressing a point of critique that is often heard in the context of performance interpretation.  

Ulrich Mosch – Emotions in recent art music – reflections from the perspective of an historian

What music is, or what is understood as music, has considerably changed during the 20th Century up to the present time. Musical art as well as the notion of music have developed in a way that it is not possible any more – if it ever was at all – to define the term in an objective, i.e. non-historical way. "Musical universals" to which some authors still adhere do not exist, at least regarding the past hundred years of the history of (western) music. Music from that period, for its different quality called "contemporary" or "new" even if it is a hundred years old (Schönberg, Berg), for many people is strange and represents a particular challenge to listen to. Illustrated by examples by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Helmut Lachenmann, and Gérard Grisey the talk will discuss consequences and problems resulting from this situation, in particular the question if the category "emotion" can be applied to that music in any meaningful way beyond describing the mere sensation of strangeness (exploited stereotypically in film music).

Stefan Koelsch – A new theory of musical tension

Musical sounds are not random and chaotic but are structured in time, space and intensity. Such structuring applies to single tones, simultaneous tones and sequential sounds, from melodies to symphonies.
Perceiving musical structures has emotional effects that only emerge from the music itself, without reference to the extra-musical world of concepts, memories or social relationships. The different emotions that arise from processing intra-musical structure are summarized under the concept of musical tension. This talk will systematically synthesize structural factors that give rise to intra-musical emotions into a new theory of musical tension. It will also present some of the first brain imaging data of musical tension, and develop a new neurobiological model of tension.

Jenefer Robinson – The expression and arousal of emotion in music: the hard case of cognitively complex emotions

The expression and arousal of emotion in music: the hard case of cognitively complex emotions
Philosophers of music have long been interested in the concept of musical expressiveness, especially what it means for music to express emotions. The most commonly accepted view is that music expressive of an emotion is music which is experienced as resembling human expressions of that emotion especially in vocal intonation or movement. But very few emotions can be expressed by music on this view, and cognitively complex emotions such as longing, nostalgia, tenderness, regret, pride and so on, may not qualify. Yet these emotions are among those that Romantic composers thought they could express in their work, and there is also evidence that music can sometimes also arouse such emotions in listeners.
In this paper I will examine some alternative theories of emotional expression in music, according to which some music can indeed express cognitively complex emotions. I will also examine the question whether music expressive of a cognitively complex emotion such as nostalgia or tenderness also invites feelings of nostalgia or tenderness in listeners, and whether such feelings are ever, as Robert Hatten might say, warranted by the music.


Tuomas Eerola – Emotion recognition reveals embodied simulation of musical emotions

The focus of interest in music and emotion studies has shifted from emotion recognition towards induction during the last decade. This has expanded the field to account for a broad variety of emotions, conditions and moderating factors as well as proposals for the underlying mechanisms responsible for the emotional experiences. Despite these recent advances, I will argue that recognition of musical emotions provides fundamental insights into understanding how music induces emotions. The induction process in which emotions are shared and interpreted via empathic engagement within a context is more intrinsically linked to physiological states underlying our affects than the other ways of inducing emotions with music (e.g., via memories, visual imagery, or conditioning), which are not unique to music. For this reason, recognition provides a central pathway of how music may induce particular emotions in listeners via embodied simulation.
I will first briefly review the recognition of musical emotions and pay particular attention to expansion of the data volume by harnessing online services and cross-cultural studies. This will be paired with a summary of the advances made in predicting emotion recognition results from the musical content. What becomes evident in both the recognition rates by the listeners and the predictive models is that whilst a basic level of recognition can be achieved by nearly anyone and with few core features, advanced recognition is dependent on the contextual information such as musical context, situation and the listener. To date, contextually sensitive models mainly incorporate the musical context although examples from other contextual aspects will be given.
Advances in understanding recognition of emotions within appropriate contexts have been made using large-scale datasets utilizing self-reports and its crowd-sourced variants and computational features. This process is not just appealing for developing applications for music consumption, but to connect the fundamental way people engage in interpersonal communication via shared cues embedded into our affective system. This interplay between emotion recognition and emotion induction is discussed in light of the embodied simulation account of emotions.



Prof. Klaus Scherer

Klaus Scherer's research focuses, apart from interests in personality, stress, communication, and music, on the study of emotion-eliciting cognitive appraisal, its neural bases, and its effects on facial and vocal emotion expression as well as on psychophysiological response patterns. Current research projects also include: Modeling emotion as a multicomponent process; acoustic parameters of emotional state in the voice; intercultural comparison of emotional experience, emotion induction via music. Scherer co-directs a series of books on "Affective Science" for Oxford University Press. He has been a founding co-editor (with R. Davidson) of the APA journal EMOTION. Scherer is member/fellow of several national and international scientific societies. Klaus Scherer also pursues activities directed at the practical application of scientific research findings. He developed a computerized assessment system for management potential and a test of emotional intelligence. He is the director of the Swiss National Research Center in the Affective Sciences.


Prof. John Sloboda

John Sloboda is Emeritus Professor at Keele from October 2008. He has been a member of the School of Psychology since 1974 and was Director of its Unit for the Study of Musical Skill and Development founded in 1991.
John Sloboda is internationally known for his work on the psychology of music. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and has been President of both the Psychology and General Sections of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as President of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, where he serves on the editorial board of it's journal Musicae Scientiae.
He was recipient of the 1998 British Psychological Society’s Presidents Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge, and in 2004 was elected to Fellowship of the British Academy.
John Sloboda is Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment (SPIRE).  He is Honorary Professor of Music and of Politics and International Relations at Royla Holloway University of London.  He is Research Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.  He is also a member of the Senior Management Group of  Oxford Research Group and Co-founder of  the Iraq Body Count Project.

Prof. Luca Zoppelli

Born in Venice, where he completed his studies under the direction of Giovanni Morelli, Luca Zoppelli worked most of all on 17th and 18th century musical aesthetics and on the history and theory of musical theatre (with a particular focus on the 19th) in a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. Professor of musicology at the University of Fribourg, he is the editor of  the Schweizer Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft and directs the critical edition of the Works of Vincenzo Bellini. His recent studies are on Handel, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner and on the expression of emotion in musical language.

Dr. Renee Timmers

Dr Renee Timmers is Senior Lecturer in Psychology of Music at the Department of Music, University of Sheffield, where she directs the research centre Music, Mind, Machine in Sheffield. She was trained in the Netherlands in Musicology and Psychology, and research fellow at various international institutes before taking up the post in Sheffield. She is co-editor of Empirical Musicology and associate editor of Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain. Her main areas of research include expressive timing in music performance, perception and expression of emotion in music, and multimodal experiences of music.


Prof. Ulrich Mosch

Professor of Musicology at the University of Geneva


Prof. Stefan Koelsch

Stefan Koelsch is Professor of Biological Psychology and Music Psychology at the Freie Universität (Berlin, Germany). He has Masters degrees in Music, Psychology, and Sociology. Prof. Koelsch did his PhD and his Habilitation at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, Germany). He was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA), before he became leader of the Max-Planck Independent Junior Research Group "Neurocognition of Music". Prof. Koelsch was an RCUK fellow,  honorary Hooker Professor at McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada), and received the Hanse Fellow Award of the Hanse Science Colledge in 2012. His research interests include the neurocognition of music, neural correlates of emotion, music therapy, similarities and differences between music and language processing, neural correlates of cognition and action, as well as emotional personality and the unconscious mind.

Prof. Jenefer Robinson

Jenefer Robinson is professor of philosophy at the University of Cincinnati and was president of the American Society for Aesthetics 2009-2011. She is the author of Deeper than Reason: Emotion and its Role in Literature, Music and Art (Oxford University Press, 2005) and the editor of Music and Meaning (Cornell University press, 1997). Recent articles include “Aesthetic Disgust?” in G. Currie et al eds., Aesthetics and the Sciences of the Mind (Cambridge University Press 2014), “Three Theories of Emotion – Three Routes to Musical Arousal,” in T. Cochrane, B. Fantini, & K. Scherer eds. The Emotional Power of Music (Oxford University Press (2013); “On Being Moved by Architecture,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, (2012) and “Emotions in Music,” (with Robert Hatten) Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 34 (2012).

Prof. Tuomas Eerola

Tuomas Eerola is involved in exploring musical correlates of emotions using empirical experiments and computational modeling and he is a Professor of Music Cognition at the Durham University, UK.

Prof. Bernardino Fantini

Originaire d’Italie, Bernardino Fantini est titulaire d’un doctorat en biochimie de l’Université de Rome “la Sapienza” et d’un doctorat ès lettres, spécialité Histoire et Philosophie des Sciences et de la Médecine, obtenu à l’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes de Paris. Arrivé à Genève en 1990 comme professeur invité, il contribue à l’installation de l’Institut Louis-Jeantet d’Histoire de la médecine de l’UNIGE, avec la mise en place d’un programme de recherche, d’enseignement et d’une bibliothèque spécialisée, qui depuis 2008 accueille également la bibliothèque historique de l’OMS. Nommé professeur ordinaire en 1992, Bernardino Fantini prend la direction du nouvel Institut d’histoire de la médecine et de la santé. Depuis 1997, il est directeur du Centre Collaborateur OMS pour la recherche historique en santé publique. Ses principaux intérêts portent sur l’histoire des maladies et de la santé publique, l’histoire de la biologie et des bases scientifiques de la médecine, l’épistémologie de la biologie et de la médecine ainsi que l’histoire des relations entre médecine, philosophie et musique. Bernardino Fantini est également Président de l’Instituto Italiano di Antropologia, directeur de la revue Medicina & Storia, ancien président de l’European Association for the History of Medicine and Health et membre correspondant de l’Académie Internationale d’histoire des sciences.



Concert Quatuor Terpsycordes
Haydn, Quatuor op. 50 n° 5 en fa majeur, Le Rêve

Ligeti, Quatuor n° 1, Métamorphoses nocturnes

Schubert, Quatuor D. 887 en sol majeur

Jeudi 11 décembre 2014 à 19h30
Studio Ernest Ansermet

Passage de la Radio 2 – Genève

Concert organisé dans le cadre du Colloque “Le pouvoir émotionnel de la musique / Emotional Power of Music” organisé par le Centre Interfacultaire en Sciences Affectives de l’Université de Genève, 10-12 décembre 2014.

Une étude sur les émotions est prévue pendant le concert. Les modalités de cette expérience seront présentées avant le concert. Les personnes intéressées seront invitées à y participer.

Pour toute question, merci de nous contacter par email à l’adresse suivante :

Musicolloque Program (PDF)

Affiche du Musicolloque