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), situations (e.g., commuting to work, a romantic dinner, a church service), 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 two large-scale 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. The other, 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.


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.




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.