We pick the upbeat tunes for parties and workouts, and save the low-key songs for romantic or sad moments. It’s hardly a new idea that music is mixed with our emotions. But how have our favorites changed over the decades, and what do these changes say about America’s shifting emotional landscape (景象)?
Researcher E. Glenn Schellenberg set out to examine songs popular in America during the last five decades, using a selection from Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 charts, hoping to learn how emotional cues (提示) in music, such as tempo (slow to fast) and mode (major or minor key), have changed since 1960.
The most striking finding is the change in key. Songs written in a major key tend to sound warm and high-spirited, while songs in a minor key can sound darker and more melancholic (忧郁的). Over the last few decades, popular songs have switched from major to minor keys. Broadly speaking, the sound has shifted from bright and happy to something more complex. The study also finds America’s popular songs have become slower and longer. Even more interesting, is that our current favorites are more likely to be emotionally ambiguous, such as sad-sounding songs being fast or happy-sounding songs being slow.
A possible explanation for the changes is that the more contemporary music reflects the hardships that our society has gone through. However, Schellenberg believes that the steady increase in length and decrease in tempo doesn’t support the idea of growing difficulties fully because it would mean our problems have increased steadily over the last fifty years. He suggests that popular songs have become more complex over time because Americans are becoming more diverse and individualized in their musical tastes.
Though we can only guess about the specific causes of this evolution in music, Schellenberg’s initial observations have helped to open the door to research on the link between emotion and music consumption. Perhaps someday we’ll learn more of the secrets behind the music we love and the times we live in.
28. Why did Schellenberg start the study?
A. To change music styles. B. To explore changes in music.
C. To select America’s favorite music. D. To examine the creation of music.
29. What can we learn from the findings?
A. Older songs were often more sad-sounding.
B. Popular songs have become warmer and shorter.
C. Recent hits are likely to be longer and more complex.
D. Current favorites tend to be composed in a major key.
30. What is the fourth paragraph mainly about?
A. The influences of the study. B. The diversity of musical tastes.
C. The causes of the music changes. D. The features of America’s society.
31. What is the author’s attitude to the study?
A. Positive. B. Doubtful.
C. Disapproving. D. Ambiguous.
答案28.B 29.C 30.C 31.A