A cross-cultural listener-based study on perceptual features in K-pop

University essay from KTH/Skolan för datavetenskap och kommunikation (CSC)

Abstract: Recent research within the Music Information Retrieval (MIR) field has shown the relevance of perceptual features for musical signals. The idea is to identify a small set of features that are natural descriptions from a perceptual perspective. The notion of perceptual features is based on the ecological approach to music, that is, focussing on sound events rather than spectral information. Furthermore, MIR research has had an overemphasis on Western music and listeners. This leads to the question of whether the concept of perceptual features is culturally independent or not. This was investigated by having listeners of two distinct cultural backgrounds (Swedish and Chinese) rating a set of eight perceptual features: dissonance, speed, rhythmic complexity, rhythmic clarity, articulation, harmonic complexity, modality and pitch. A culturally specific dataset consisting of Korean pop songs was used to provide the stimuli. This was a subset of a larger set of songs from a previous study selected based on genre and mood annotations to create a diverse dataset. The listener ratings were evaluated by a variety of statistical measures, including cross-correlation and ANOVA. It was found that there was a small but significant difference in the ratings of the perceptual features speed and rhythmic complexity between the two cultural groups.  

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