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October 2021

The role of dynamics in musical expression.

Author(s): Breen, T.

Journal/Book: Journal of Music Therapy. 1975; 12: Hertfordshire, UK. National Association for Music Therapy. 19-29.

Abstract: Three hypotheses were tested using as subjects 153 undergraduate students in a non-major introduction to music class: Main hypothesis; the greater the dynamic range, the more musical expression will be judged by the listener for both classical and rock and roll music; secondary hypotheses: (1) dynamic changes per se are insufficient to enhance musical expressions, rather these changes are expressive as a function of their context in the musical score (such as those changes intended by the composer), and (2) dynamic change is more an element of musical expression in classical music than in rock and roll music. The main hypothesis was supported for classical music but not for rock and roll. With respect to the secondary hypotheses, dynamic changes must changes must be those specified by the composer to enhance musical expression of classical music, and dynamic change was found to be more important for classical than rock and roll music. The implication of these results for music therapy, music education and future research is discussed.

Keyword(s): dynamics, musical-expression, rock-and-roll-music, classical-music.

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