Max Planck Research Group Felt Communities? Emotions in European Music Performances
The Max Planck Research Group Felt Communities? Emotions in European Music Performances (Head: Oliver Müller) investigated the historical development of the emotions triggered by music in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Music holds a particular strength. Sounds, chords, and melodies not only evoke vegetative, cognitive, and emotional reactions in individuals but their emotional effect unfolds, increases, or changes according to the situation and context. When music is listened to in solitude, it is perceived differently than in communal situations such as concerts. It is able both to create a relational identity between individuals and to form and sustain communities. In the course of history, the emotional imprint of music production and reception has changed as much as the music itself and how it is performed.
Researchers investigated the meaning of music in terms of social and cultural groups’ formation and cohesion in various historical situations. The scope of the work ranged from the fan cult around Franz Liszt to music at a German political party’s conferences to punk concerts in Europe.
Undertaking a change of perspective, the researchers moved away from the study of individual musical works to an investigation of the discourses and social practices of participants in the world of music. They analyzed and interpretated a variety of sources, including audio and video documents, music reviews and fanzines, diaries and letters, and memorabilia and merchandising products.
Research period: November 2010 – September 2015