Chills experienced in response to music listening have been linked to both happiness and sadness expressed by music. To investigate these conflicting effects of valence on chills, we conducted a computational analysis on a corpus of 988 tracks previously reported to elicit chills, by comparing them with a control set of tracks matched by artist, duration, and popularity. We analysed track-level audio features obtained with the Spotify Web API across the two sets of tracks, resulting in confirmatory findings that tracks which cause chills were sadder than matched tracks and exploratory findings that they were also slower, less intense, and more instrumental than matched tracks on average. We also found that the audio characteristics of chills tracks were related to the direction and magnitude of the difference in valence between the two sets of tracks. We discuss these results in light of the current literature on valence and chills in music, provide a new interpretation in terms of personality correlates of musical preference, and review the advantages and limitations of our computational approach.
Keywords: chills; corpus analysis; music; valence.
© The Author(s) 2021.