Aesthetic experience of music in live and medial contexts

While existing research, particularly in music psychology, has primarily investigated the combined effect of the individual’s and the stimulus features to better understand evaluative, emotional, or behavioral responses to music, we are also investigating the influences of frames. Frames can be places (e.g., living rooms, cars, concert halls, urban spaces...), individual or collective situations (e.g., commuting to work, a romantic dinner, a church service, a societal crisis), and also discursive contexts (such as a culture’s general art and music concepts, the aesthetics of specific musical styles, and genres), all of which are socioculturally determined.


Currently, we are investigating the precise influence of situational frames on experiencing music and on music listening behavior in several projects. One project examines the classical concert, the emblematic frame for listening to autonomous art music as it has developed in Europe since the end of the 18th century, with a complicated interaction between composition history and aesthetic and sociocultural changes. Another, complementary, project examines a frame that, until the rise of autonomy aesthetics, was the most important heteronomous context for art production and reception: the church. Further projects study musical engagement and experience in the context of two current social and political crises: the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.


Research Section: Live performances

Concert Research

The research project, supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, investigates aesthetic experience in a classical concert within an interdisciplinary multi-method setting, together with our cooperation partners Hauke Egermann (York), Martin Tröndle (Friedrichshafen), Wolfgang Tschacher (Bern) and Folkert Uhde (Berlin).  



Musical motion: the experience and aesthetics of movement in South Indian raga performance

The interconnection between music and movement can be observed in everyday life: for example, in the tendency for people to move along with music, and to use motion-related words when talking about music.


Singing with Physical Contact: A Motiv of late Medieval Iconography of Singing and its Experiemental Re-Enactment

Music and art historians specializing in the Late Medieval period and Renaissance are familiar with the typical pictorial representation of a vocal ensemble: the singers are assembled around a single lectern or manuscript, pressed tightly together.



Rappin' and rocking the house: Typical body movements and verbal phrases in rap performance

Rap is a music genre that originated within the hiphop youth culture in the late 1970s. Rappers, also called MCs (master of ceremonies), began as supporters of DJs at parties but eventually took on a main role as performers on the stage.


Concerts and media-supported listening situations of Western classical music: aesthetic experiences in comparison

Nowadays, we can listen to music in many ways. Since reproducing devices became widely available at the beginning of the 20th century, recorded music performances can be separated from and heard in the absence of their original sound source.



Liveness is not only important in the performing arts but also in many other aspects of daily life, such as political rallies, sporting events, virtual reality and distance learning.


Gesture in Contemporary Beatbox Performance

While advanced vocal techniques lie at the heart of contemporary beatboxing, skilled beatbox artists also gesture in their performances, creating intricate and highly effective intertwinings of sound and body movement.


Research Section: Religious Practices

"Aesthetic effects of liturgical practices" (acronym: WæL)

"Aesthetic effects of liturgical practices" (acronym: WæL) examines the perception and impact of aesthetic practices and objects in the socio-cultural framing of religious performances, with a special focus on the Roman Catholic liturgy.



Research Section: Urban spaces

Sounds in urban living space

Sound is an important aspect of urban living. The challenge is not to simply reduce noise pollution but to configure and design sound so as to create a pleasant urban experience. Utilizing the latest tools in the artificial intelligence (AI) and extended reality (XR) toolbox, the EU-funded ReSilence project will explore the borders between sound and silence in a changing world by producing acoustic awareness in urban spaces. 


Research Section: Music in societal crises

Network: Music in times of the COVID-19

A global and interdisciplinary network of researchers and musicians has formed to support and facilitate research across the globe on the role of music during the COVID-19 pandemic


Music in times of war

Music is not only something people enjoy, but also a means for individuals and communities to work through difficulties and hard times. In this project, we investigate the role of music in times of war.



Kreuzer, M., Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Weining, C., Meier, D., O’Neill, K., Tschacher, W., et al. (2023). Digital concert experience: An online research project on live streaming during the Pandemic. In S. Lepa, R. Müller-Lindenberg, & H. Egermann (Eds.), Classical music and opera during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic: Empirical research on the digital transformation of socio-cultural institutions and aesthetic forms (pp. 95-112). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-031-42975-0_6.

Tschacher, W., Greenwood, S., Ramakrishnan, S., Tröndle, M., Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Seibert, C., Weining, C. &. Meier, D. (2023). Audience synchronies in live concerts illustrate the embodiment of music experience. Scientific Reports, 13(1), 14843. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-41960-2

Wald-Fuhrmann, M., O’Neill, K., Weining, C., Egermann, H., & Tröndle, M. (2023). The influence of formats and preferences on the aesthetic experience of classical music concert streams (Advance online publication).Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. doi:10.1037/aca0000560.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2023). Du holde Kunst. Trost als Funktion des Musikhörens und Musizierens während der Corona-Pandemie. In Tobias Bulang (Ed.). Trost. Beistand, Zuspruch und Trostgründe in der Krise. Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift. Beihefte 109. (pp. 261-283). Heidelberg: Winter Verlag.

Czepiel, A., Fink, L., Seibert, C., Scharinger, M., & Kotz, S. A. (2023). Aesthetic and physiological effects of naturalistic multimodal music listening. Cognition,239: 105537. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105537.

Pearson, L., & Pouw, W. (2022). Gesture–vocal coupling in Karnatak music performance: A neuro–bodily distributed aesthetic entanglement. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Pearson, L. (2022). Inscriptions, Gesture, and the Self: Notation in Karnatak Music. In E. Payne & F. Schuiling (Eds.), Material Cultures of Music Notation: New Perspectives on Musical Inscription. Abingdon: Routledge.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M. Coronamusic(king) (2022). Types, Repertoires, Consolatory Function. In Agamennone M. Palma D.  & Sarno, G. (Eds.). Sounds of the Pandemic. Accounts, Experiences, Perspectives in Times of COVID-19. (pp. 193-212).

Hansen, N. C., Wald-Fuhrmann, M., & Davidson, J. W. (Eds.). (2022). Social convergence in times of spatial distancing: The Role of music during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Lausanne: Frontiers Media SA. doi:10.3389/978-2-88974-651-4.


Lange, E. B., Omigie, D., Trenado, C., Müller, V., Wald-Fuhrmann, M. & Merrill, J. (2022) In touch: Cardiac and respiratory patterns synchronize during ensemble singing with physical contact. Frontiers Human Neuroscience 16:928563. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2022.928563

Lange, E.B., Fünderich, J. & Grimm, H. (2022) Multisensory integration of musical emotion perception in singing. Psychological Research (2022). 10.1007/s00426-021-01637-9

Toelle, J., & Sloboda, J. A. (2021). The audience as artist? The audience’s experience of participatory music. Musicae Scientiae, 25(1), 67-91.

Czepiel, A., Fink, L. K., Fink, L. T., Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Tröndle, M., & Merrill, J. (2021). Synchrony in the periphery: inter-subject correlation of physiological responses during live music concerts. Scientific Reports, 11: 22457. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-00492-3.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Egermann, H., Czepiel, A., O’Neill, K., Weining, C., Meier, D, Tschacher, W., Uhde, F., Toelle, J. & Tröndle, M. (2021). Music Listening in Classical Concerts: Theory, Literature Review, and Research Program. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 638783.

Merrill, J., Czepiel, A., Fink, L. T., Toelle, J., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2021). The Aesthetic Experience of Live Concerts: Self-Reports and Psychophysiology. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication.

Fink, L., Warrenburg, L., Howlin, C., Randall, W., Hansen, N., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2021). Viral tunes: Changes in musical behaviours and interest in coronamusic predict socio-emotional coping during COVID-19 lockdown (preprint). PsyArXiv. doi:10.31234/

Seibert, C., Toelle, J., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2021). The Classical Concert as an Object of Empirical Aesthetics. In M. Tröndle (Ed.) Classical Concert Studies: A Companion to Contemporary Research and Performance (pp 351-360).  Routledge.

Grüny, C. (2021). Erdrückende Tradition? Musik in der Gegenwart. Merkur, 75(860), 47-58.

Pearson, L. (2020). A Socially Situated Approach to Aesthetics: Games and Challenges in Karnatak Music. In A. Hamilton & L. Pearson (Eds.), The Aesthetics of Imperfection in Music and the Arts: Spontaneity, Flaws and the Unfinished (pp. 61-72). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Boenneke, S., Vroegh, T., & Dannecker, K. P. (2020). “He Who Sings, Prays Twice”? Singing in Roman Catholic Mass Leads to Spiritual and Social Experiences that are Predicted by Religious and Musical Attitudes. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 570189. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.570189

Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Dannecker, K. P., & Boenneke, S. (Eds.). (2020).Wirkungsästhetik der Liturgie: Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven. Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M., Dannecker, K.-P., & Boenneke, S. (2020). Einleitung. In M. Wald-Fuhrmann, K.-P. Dannecker, & S. Boenneke (Eds.), Wirkungsästhetik der Liturgie: Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven (pp. 7-22). Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2020). Liturgische Aufführungsbestimmungen zwischen Semiotik und Ästhetik: Ein Durchgang durch die „Allgemeine Einführung in das Römische Meßbuch“. In M. Wald-Fuhrmann, K.-P. Dannecker, & S. Boenneke (Eds.), Wirkungsästhetik der Liturgie: Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven (pp. 143-164). Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2020). Positive Aspekt des gemeinschaftlichen Singens: Ein Forschungsüberblick. In M. Wald-Fuhrmann, K.-P. Dannecker, & S. Boenneke (Eds.), Wirkungsästhetik der Liturgie: Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven (pp. 191-214). Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet.

Seibert, C., Greb, F., & Tschacher, W. (2019). Nonverbale Synchronie und Musik-Erleben im klassischen Konzert. Jahrbuch Musikpsychologie. Musikpsychologie – Musik und Bewegung, 28: e18, pp. 53-85. doi:10.5964/jbdgm.2018v28.18

Seibert, C. (2019). Situated approaches to musical experience. In D. Clarke, E. F. Clarke, & R. Herbert (Eds.), Music and Consciousness 2: Worlds, practices, modalities (pp. 11-33). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Toelle, J., & Sloboda, J. A. (2019). The audience as artist? The audience’s experience of participatory music. Musicae Scientiae.doi:10.1177/1029864919844804.

Seibert, Ch., Toelle J., & Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2018). Live und interaktiv: ästhetisches Erleben im Konzert als Gegenstand empirischer Forschung. In: Martin Tröndle (Hrsg.): Das Konzert. Neue Aufführungskonzepte für eine klassische Form. Dritte, erweiterte Auflage.

Toelle, J. (2018). Applaus. In D. Morat, & H. Ziemer (Eds.), Handbuch Sound: Geschichte - Begriffe - Ansätze (pp. 178-182). Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler.

Dannecker, Klaus Peter & Wald-Fuhrmann, Melanie (2018). Wirkungsästhetik: Ein neuer Ansatz für eine transdisziplinäre empirische Liturgieforschung. Liturgisches Jahrbuch. Vierteljahreshefte für Fragen des Gottesdienstes 68 (2), 83 - 108.

Wald-Fuhrmann, M. (2014). Mit Pauken und Trompeten - Strategien und Dokumentation des zeremoniellen Einsatzes von Musik am Papsthof des ausgehenden 15. Jahrhunderts. In K. Pietschmann (Ed.), Musikalische Performanz und päpstliche Repräsentation in der Renaissance (pp. 139-155). Kassel: Bärenreiter.