Aesthetic experience of music in social 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: The Concert

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).  



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.



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. (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.

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.

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.