chapter  40
From Intuition to Evidence
The Experimental Psychology of Film Music
BySiu-Lan Tan
Pages 14

This chapter describes a standard method or paradigm employed in most experimental research in the area of film music, based on assessing responses of viewers to watching the same film clip paired with different music tracks. It explores some of the key methods employed in film-music research and it illustrates by a variety of studies that all have one feature in common: the 'change the music track' paradigm, in tandem with verbal report and/or technology such as eye tracking and brain imaging. Even after experience in sound editing, Walter Murch found that he could not rely on instinct or intuition alone, and clearly acknowledged the psychological dimension of our experience of film sound. In putting different recordings of the music up against the picture and observing how each interacted with the scene, Murch was operating intuitively along the same lines as empirical researchers who conduct film-music research in controlled studies.