This paper investigates the role of musical features in shaping peak-pleasurable experiences of electronic dance music (EDM). Typically, large structural and dynamic changes occur in an EDM track, which can be referred to as the break routine, consisting of breakdown, build-up, and drop. Twenty-four participants listened to four EDM excerpts featuring break routines, and one excerpt without a break routine. Measures were taken of skin conductance, self-reported affect, and embodied aspects of subjective experience, and incidence of pleasant bodily sensations. Participants reported intense affective experience with EDM despite being removed from the club context, and attributed this experience to the drop in particular. They described these experiences as energizing and uplifting, and pointed to an embodied, kinaesthetic experience of the music. Drop sections of the music were associated with significantly higher skin conductance response than other sections of the break routine. Analysis confirms correlation between specific acoustic and musical features and peak-response as observed with other music genres, and also identifies novel musical characteristics particular to EDM associated with peak experience. This shows that pleasurable peak experience with EDM is related to specific musical features, and has embodied spatial and kinaesthetic experiential qualities even when listened to without dancing and away from the club context.

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