Background: In Western cultures it has often been assumed that the experience of happy or sad emotions while listening to music is clearly correlated to the key (mode) and the tempo of the musical piece. Recent studies point towards more complex dependencies, but knowledge in this line of research is still very limited, especially regarding the experience of music for persons with memory-related disorders such as dementia. Objective: This pilot study explores the emotional content of music for patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD) and compares them to healthy subjects. Methods: A new test was specifically designed for this study and presented to 10 patients with MCI diagnosis, 10 with AD diagnosis and 23 controls. The test comprised musical stimuli consisting of chords and short musical pieces in major and minor mode with variable note density (number of notes per second). Results: In the current study no significant correlation between key and the attribution of ‘happy' or ‘sad' judgements to a musical piece could be found in all groups. Note density, however, was shown to exhibit a strong influence on happy/sad judgements in all groups. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the note density of a musical piece is much more important for happy/sad judgements than the key. Furthermore, the diagnosis MCI and early AD had no influence on the attribution of emotional expressions to musical pieces, corroborating recent findings of spared memory for music in these patient groups.

Svansdottir HB, Snaedal J: Music therapy in moderate and severe dementia of Alzheimer's type: a case-control study. Int Psychogeriatr 2006;18:613-621.
Tillmann B, Peretz I, Bigand E, Gosselin N: Harmonic priming in an amusic patient: the power of implicit tasks. Cogn Neuropsychol 2007;24:603-622.
Quoniam N, Ergis AM, Fossati P, Peretz I, Samson S, Sarazin M, Allilaire JF: Implicit and explicit emotional memory for melodies in Alzheimer's disease and depression. Ann NY Acad of Sci 2003;999:381-384.
Leppänen JM: Emotional information processing in mood disorders: a review of behavioral and neuroimaging findings. Curr Opin Psychiatry 2006;19:34-39.
Weiss EM, Papousek I, Fink A, Matt T, Marksteiner J, Deisenhammer EA: Lebensqualität bei älteren Personen mit unterschiedlichem Schweregrad von kognitiver Beeinträchtigung. Neuropsychiatr 2012;26:72-77.
Halpern AR, O'Connor MG: Implicit memory for music in Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychology 2000;14:391-397.
Cuddy LL, Duffin J: Music, memory and Alzheimer's disease: is music recognition spared in dementia, and how can it be assessed? Med Hypotheses 2005;64:229-235.
Gagnon L, Peretz I, Fülöp T: Musical structural determinants of emotional judgments in dementia of the Alzheimer type. Neuropsychology 2009;23:90-97.
Scherer KR, Zentner MR: Emotional effects of music: production rules; in Juslin P, Sloboda JA (eds): Music and Emotion: Theory and Research. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp 361-392.
Khalfa S, Roy M, Rainville P, Dalla Bella S, Peretz I: Role of tempo entrainment in psychophysiological differentiation of happy and sad music? Int J Psychophysiol 2008;68:17-26.
Juslin PN, Sloboda JA: Music and Emotion: Theory and Research. New York, Oxford University Press, 2001.
Baumgartner T, Lutz K, Schmidt CF, Jäncke L: The emotional power of music: how music enhances the feeling of affective pictures. Brain Res 2006;1075:151-164.
Juslin PN, Lindström E: Musical expression of emotions: modeling composed and performed features. Abstract proposal accepted for 5th ESCOM Conf, Hanover, September 2003.
Gagnon L, Peretz I: Mode and tempo relative contributions to ‘happy-sad' judgements in equitone melodies. Cogn Emot 2003;17:25-40.
Balkwill L, Thompson W: A cross-cultural investigation of the perception of emotion in music: psychophysical and cultural cues. Music Percept 1999;17:43-64.
Peretz I, Sloboda J: Part VII. Music and the emotional brain. Introduction. Ann NY Acad Sci 2005;1060:409-411.
Peretz I, Gagnon L, Bouchard B: Music and emotion: perceptual determinants, immediacy and isolation after brain damage. Cognition 1998;68:111-141.
Bowling DL: A vocal basis for the affective character of musical mode in melody. Front Psychol 2013;4:464.
Hevner K: The affective character of the major and minor modes in music. Am J Psychol 1935;47:103-118.
Dalla Bella S, Peretz I, Rousseau L, Gosselin N: A developmental study of the affective value of tempo and mode in music. Cognition 2001;80:1-10.
Mead KML, Ball LJ: Music tonality and context-dependent recall: the influence of key change and mood mediation. Eur J Cogn Psychol 2007;19:59-79.
Schellenberg EG, Peretz I, Vieillard S: Liking for happy and sad sounding music: effects of exposure. Cogn Emot 2008;22:218-237.
Khalfa S, Peretz I, Blondin JP, Manon R: Event-related skin conductance responses to musical emotions in humans. Neurosci Lett 2002;328:145-149.
Pallesen KJ, Brattico E, Bailey C, Korvenoja A, Koivisto J, Gjedde A, Carlson S: Emotion processing of major, minor and dissonant chords: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Ann NY Acad Sci 2006;1060:450-453.
Lebrun-Guillaud G, Tillmann B: Influence of a tone's tonal function on temporal change detection. Percept Psychophys 2007;69:1450-1459.
Lantz ME, Kilgour AR, Nicholson KG, Cuddy LL: Judgments of musical emotion following right hemisphere damage. Brain Cogn 2003;51:190-191.
Weiss EM, Kohler CG, Vonbank J, Stadelmann E, Kemmler G, Hinterhuber H, Marksteiner J: Impairment in emotion recognition abilities in patients with mild cognitive impairment, early and moderate Alzheimer disease compared with healthy comparison subjects. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2008;16:974-980.
Petersen RC: Mild cognitive impairment as a diagnostic entity. J Intern Med 2004;256:183-194.
Folstein MF, Folstein SE, McHugh PR: Mini-Mental State: a practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinicians. J Psychiatr Res 1975;12:189-198.
Rosen WG, Mohs RC, Davis KL: A new rating scale for Alzheimer's disease. Am J Psychiatry 1984;141:1356-1364.
Oswald WD, Fleischmann UM: Nürnberger-Alters-Inventar (NAI). Testinventar und NAI Testmanual und Textband, ed 4. Göttingen, Hogrefe, 1997.
Sunderland T, Hill JL, Mellow AM, Lawlor BA, Gunderheimer J, Newhouse PA, Grafman JH: Clock drawing in Alzheimer's disease. A novel measure of dementia severity. J Am Geriatr Soc 1989;37:725-729.
Reitan RM, Wolfson D: The Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery: Theory and Clinical Interpretation. Tucson, Neuropsychology Press, 1985.
Yesavage JA, Brink TL, Rose TL, Lum O, Huang V, Adey M, Leirer VO: Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. J Psychiatr Res 1982;17:37-49.
Gomez P, Danuser B: Relationships between musical structure and psychophysiological measures of emotion. Emotion 2007;7:377-387.
Kverno KS, Rabins PV, Blass DM, Hicks KL, Black BS: Prevalence and treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in advanced dementia. J Gerontol Nurs 2008;34:8-15, quiz 16-17.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.