Lab Publication of the Week: Huron and Trevor (2016)

For this weeks Lab Publication of the week, we will be looking at David Huron and Caitlyn Trevor’s article on the role of stopped strings in the conveying of emotion in music, published as part of a special issue on corpus studies in Empirical Musicology Review in 2016. David and Caitlyn hypothesized that the relationship of open strings to stopped strings would be different for sad songs than those not considered sad.

Quite importantly, this is a publication demonstrating negative results. Too often we fall victim to “positive results bias”, and our lab members are heavily invested in open and transparent research practices. This is an example of a nicely designed study that works well, and although it’s hypotheses aren’t confirmed, the study engages in important aspects of the conversation regarding emotion and instrumental idiomaticism.


Huron, D., & Trevor, C.  (2016). Are stopped strings preferred in sad music? Empirical Musicology Review, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 261-269.