Authors: Daniela Willimek, Bernd Willimek
Title: "Music and Emotions -- Research on the Theory of Musical Equilibration (die Strebetendenz-Theorie)"
"Music and Emotions - Research on the Theory of Musical Equilibration" is the English edition of the German publication "Musik und Emotionen - Studien zur Strebetendenz-Theorie" by Daniela and Bernd Willimek; it was translated by Laura Russell.
The first part of the book addresses the main premise of the Theory. It states that in contrast to previous hypotheses, music does not directly describe emotions: instead, it evokes processes of the will which the listener identifies with. It is not until these processes are experienced that music appears to take on an emotional character. The Theory of Musical Equilibration applies this principle as it constructs a system which outlines and explains the emotional nature of musical harmonies. Numerous examples from the repertoire of classical music are used to illustrate how composers selected particular harmonic structures to communicate different emotions.
The second part of the book focuses on demonstrating the emotional nature of musical harmonies. The Basic Test and the Rocky Test are presented, both of which deal with this topic, and the tests complement one another. The Basic Test asks its subjects to link terms to specific harmonies; the Rocky Text plays different kinds of background music during emotional scenes from fairy tales. Over 2000 volunteers on four continents have taken part in the Rocky Test, including members of the Viennese Boys' Choir and the Regensburg Cathedral Choir. Currently the tests are undergoing a review to determine their suitability for use in music therapy.