Feelings, universal musical feelings

African farmers who shun Western culture demonstrate widespread recognition of three basic emotions in music

By Bruce Bower, 10:26 AM March 19, 2009

Hear audio samples that were used in this study.

Cameroon’s Mafa farmers don’t know U2 from YouTube, and that’s how they like it. So it comes as a scientific revelation that, according to a new study, these Africans who are cocooned from Western culture recognize expressions of happiness, sadness and fear in the same musical passages that Westerners do.

This finding provides the first solid evidence for a universal human ability to distinguish basic emotions in music, asserts a team led ...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/feelings-universal-musical-feelings?mode=magazine&context=679