Perceived valence, tension, and movement of harmonic musical intervals (from the unison to the octave presented in a low- and high-register) and standard noises (brown, pink, white, blue, purple) were assessed in two studies that differed in the crossmodal procedure by which tension and movement were rated: proprioceptive device or visual analog scale. Valence was evaluated in both studies with the visual analog scale. In a preliminary study, the proprioceptive device was calibrated with a psychophysical procedure. Roughness of the stimuli was included as covariate. Tension was perceived higher in dissonant intervals and in intervals presented in the high register. The higher the high-pitch energy content in the standard noise, the higher the perceived tension. The visual analog scale resulted in higher tension ratings than the proprioceptive device. Perception of movement was higher in dissonant intervals, in intervals in the high register, and in standard noises than in musical intervals. High-pitch spectrum noises were associated with more sense of movement than low-pitch spectrum noises. Consonant intervals and low-register intervals were evaluated as more pleasant than dissonant and high-register intervals. High-pitch spectrum purple and blue noises were evaluated as more unpleasant than low-pitch spectrum noises.
Fifty-one tonal and atonal classical melodies were evaluated by 29 students on 10 bipolar adjective scales that focused on emotional evaluation along four factors: valence, aesthetic judgment, activity, and potency. Significant predictors for each factor were obtained through ridge regression analyses. Predictors were quantified characteristics of each melody: the distribution of intervals according to interval size, the mode, and tonal strength (C. L. Krumhansl, 1990). Valence was best predicted by mode. Aesthetic judgment was predicted by the interval distribution and by tonal strength. Melodies judged pleasant contained more perfect fourths and minor sevenths and fewer augmented fourths; they were also high in tonal strength. Activity and potency were best predicted by the interval distribution. Activity, a sense of instability and motion, was conveyed by a greater occurrence of minor seconds, augmented fourths, and intervals larger than the octave. Potency, an expression of vigor and power, was marked by a greater occurrence of unisons and octaves. Thus the emotional expression of a melody appears to be related to the distributions of its interval categories, its mode, and its tonal strength.