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Thus far I’ve never been much able to listen to much opera (I am like that King chap in the film Amadeus who berates Mozart for ‘too many notes’, for me opera is ‘too much shrieking’) so I am looking forward somewhat nervously to hearing what I imagine could be very unfamiliar opera.

Here’s an email from colleagues at Queen Mary who are keen for many ears to help out with their research. Coincidentally the paper I read last night (Unforgettable film music: The role of emotion in episodic long-term memory for music BMC Neuroscience 2008, 9:48 doi:10.1186/1471-2202-9-48) is quite relevant to this sort of thing, and I now know what ‘valence’ means (beyond its use in chemistry with which I am more familiar).

Dear all,

We are conducting an experiment to explore how music perception varies across different cultures. We would like to invite you to participate in this experiment and we hope you will have some fun enjoying music of another culture.

In the listening test, you will be asked to listening to 30 second sound excepts and locate your perceived emotion on a two dimensional plane corresponding to a psychological model of mood. Please also choose (or type) a single mood word expressed by the music. The 120 samples used in the experiment are Chinese Opera arias with and without background accompaniment. Please listen to as many tracks as you feel convenient. It will take about 50 minutes to complete the entire test.

The link to the test can be found below. It is available in English and Chinese: http://www.isophonics.net/content/chinese-opera-listening-test