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Durham University



Publication details for Professor Tuomas Eerola

Micallef Grimaud, A. & Eerola, T. (2020). EmoteControl: An interactive system for real-time control of emotional expression in music. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

Author(s) from Durham


Several computer systems have been designed for music emotion research that aim to identify how different structural or expressive cues of music influence the emotions conveyed by the music. However, most systems either operate offline by pre-rendering different variations of the music or operate in real-time but focus mostly on structural cues. We present a new interactive system called EmoteControl, which allows users to make changes to both structural and expressive cues (tempo, pitch, dynamics, articulation, brightness, and mode) of music in real-time. The purpose is to allow scholars to probe a variety of cues of emotional expression from non-expert participants who are unable to articulate or perform their expression of music in other ways. The benefits of the interactive system are particularly important in this topic as it offers a massive parameter space of emotion cues and levels for each emotion which is challenging to exhaustively explore without a dynamic system. A brief overview of previous work is given, followed by a detailed explanation of EmoteControl’s interface design and structure. A portable version of the system is also described, and specifications for the music inputted in the system are outlined. Several use-cases of the interface are discussed, and a formal interface evaluation study is reported. Results suggested that the elements controlling the cues were easy to use and understood by the users. The majority of users were satisfied with the way the system allowed them to express different emotions in music and found it a useful tool for research.