Recent research has explored the emotional characteristics of pitched instruments and the voice. This study investigates the emotional characteristics of the unpitched bass drum, snare drum, and disengaged snare drum. The objective is to explore how the choice of instrument, drum strokes (e. g., single stroke and roll), and dynamics influence the perceived emotional characteristics. Listening tests were carried out with 46 participants, who provided absolute judgments on the sounds in terms of Valence and Arousal on a 5-point Likert scale, alongside the presence of 16 emotional categories: Agitated, Angry, Scary, Terrifying, Joyful, Playful, Slapstick, Exciting, Depressing, Spooky, Mysterious, Nervous, Calm, Gentle, Relaxed, and Peaceful. Data from the listening tests were analyzed using linear regression. Overall, the choice of instrument, drum strokes, and dynamics significantly and similarly influenced Arousal, whereas the choice of instrument had a much stronger effect on Valence than the other two. Specifically, the bass drum was strongly correlated with almost all negative emotions and inversely correlated with high-energy positive emotions. The type of drum strokes was relatively strongly correlated with low-energy positive categories and Agitated. Dynamics had a more secondary effect. These findings offer some detailed insights into how specific emotional characteristics are perceived for drums.

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