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Durham University



Publication details for Professor Tuomas Eerola

Eerola, T., Peltola, H.-R. & Vuoskoski, J. K. (2015). Attitudes towards sad music are related to both preferential and contextual strategies. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain 25(2): 116-123.

Author(s) from Durham


Music-related sadness and its paradoxical pleasurable aspects have puzzled researchers for decades. Previous studies have highlighted the positive effects of listening to sad music and the listening strategies that focus on mood-regulation. The present study explored people’s attitudes toward sad music by focusing on a representative sample of the Finnish population. Three hundred and fifty-eight participants rated their agreement with 30 statements concerning attitudes toward sad music. The ratings were subjected to factor analysis, resulting in 6 factors explaining 51% of the variance (RMSEA = 0.049). The factors were labeled Avoidance, Autobiographical, Revival, Appreciation, Intersubjective, and Amplification, and they were divided into 2 broad headings, preferential and contextual attitudes toward sad music. Contextual attitudes seemed to be ambiguous in terms of valence, whereas the preferential attitudes were more clearly identified in terms of positive/negative polarity. The results of the survey suggest that listening to sad music elicits a wide variety of responses that are not fully revealed in previous studies.