U. Varankaitė “From music listening to extramusical interpretations: musical experience as multimodal, semiotic and psychological phenomenon” doctoral dissertation defence

Thesis Defense

Author, Institution: Ulrika Varankaitė, Kaunas University of Technology

Science area, field of science: Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003

Scientific Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dario Martinelli (Kaunas University of Technology, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003).

Dissertation Defence Board of  History and Theory of Arts Science Field:

Prof. Dr. Rima Povilionienė (Lietuvos muzikos ir teatro akademija, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003) – chairwoman,
Prof. Dr. Rytis Ambrazevičius (Kaunas University of Technology, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003),
Prof. Dr. Juha Ojala (Sibelius Academy, Finland, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003),
Assoc Prof. Dr.  Alin Olteanu (Kaunas University of Technology, Humanities, History and Theory of Arts, H003).

The doctoral dissertation is available at the library of Kaunas University of Technology (K. Donelaičio St. 20, 44239 Kaunas, Lithuania).

Annotation:

This dissertation explores listeners’ extramusical experience – music-evoked associations that are outside music itself. The interdisciplinary research practically investigated the process of music listening through the listeners’ perspective, and 24 Lithuanians took part in the study. The experimental session consisted of active music listening to three different musical excerpts/genres (two songs with lyrics and one instrumental piece) and qualitative semi-structured interviews with each subject separately. As findings show, multifaceted extramusical associations were induced by music that in almost all cases would include these elements: emotional response, visual imagery and associations as references to other existing real-world items in media, music and/or audiovisual culture (which involved mostly other, non-Lithuanian cultures/countries). Furthermore, the associations were influenced by the subjects’ experience and perception that had been formed by their socio-cultural environment which they shared, and this led to perceiving similar meanings and associations evoked by music even if the subjects were not familiar with the musical piece. Another important outcome was that if a musical piece contained lyrics, it was not the main factor in forming listeners’ extramusical associations; music alone is powerful to provoke specific meanings. These and other findings showed how much music listening is a complex but quite creative process for the listener since audible music is able to induce various responses including multifaceted extramusical associations full of emotional and visual content.

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