Music therapy has been shown to be effective at improving mood (i.e., valence) in subjects in previous studies. In this study, we investigate five different ways of generating playlists of therapeutic music to see which is most effective at improving mood, tested over a large number of subjects. We conducted online experiments under three proposed approaches using playlists of consoling, relaxing, and uplifting music, and compared them to two baseline methods using natural sounds and a random mix of songs (i.e., music that could be either relaxing, uplifting, or consoling). We questioned subjects before and after listening to the music to see how valence and arousal changed, and analysed the results with ANOVA. The results showed there were positive changes in listeners’ valence levels for natural sounds, as well as for consoling, relaxing, and uplifting music playlists. There were no significant changes in arousal for most sources, but there was a lowering in arousal with relaxing music and a rising in arousal with uplifting music. Additionally, relaxing and uplifting music playlists both showed significant effects in moving listeners from negative to more positive emotional states.

This content is only available via PDF.