Description of the annotations

The dataset consists of 400 song excerpts (1 minute long) in 4 genres (rock, classical, pop, electronic). The annotations were collected using GEMS scale (Geneva Emotional Music Scales) [1]. Each participant could select maximally three items from the scale (the emotions, that he felt strongly listening to this song. Below is the description of the emotional categories as found in the game.

Emotional category Explanation
AmazementFeeling of wonder and happiness
Solemnity Feeling of transcendence, inspiration. Thrills
Tenderness Sensuality, affect, feeling of love
Nostalgia Dreamy, melancholic, sentimental feelings
Calmness Relaxation, serenity, meditativeness
Power Feeling strong, heroic, triumphant, energetic
Joyful activationFeels like dancing, bouncy feeling, animated, amused
Tension Nervous, impatient, irritated
Sadness Depressed, sorrowful

The annotations produced by the game are spread unevenly among the songs, which is caused both by design of the experiment and design of the game. Participants could skip songs and switch between genres, and they were encouraged to do so, because induced emotional response does not automatically occur on every music listening occasion. Therefore, less popular (among our particular sample of participants) genres received less annotations, and the same happened to less popular songs. Moreover, for the purposes of analysis we split our songs in two subsets. On average, each songs in one of the subsets is annotated by 48 people, and by 16 people in the other.


Each line in the file corresponds to one participant (i.e., annotations are not averaged per song). These is the description of information found in the file:

For more information, please consult [3].

Description of the game

We collected the data through online game with a purpose. There are two versions of the game: a Facebook application and a stand-alone version. Most data came through stand-alone version. Emotify was launched on the 1st of March 2013, and up to now 1778 people participated. Prior to the game, participants were instructed to report their felt (induced) emotion, and were asked some personal questions. As an incentive, participants received psychological questionnaire-style feedback and could compare themselves to friends of Facebook. Participants could choose genres and skip songs whenever they liked.

It is still possible to play the game.

More information about the game design can be found in [2].


You can download sound files and annotations separately.
Download sound files (363 MB)
Download annotations (393 KB)

Data usage agreement

If you decide to use this dataset in your work we kindly ask you to cite the paper [4].


[1] M. Zentner, D. Grandjean, and K. R. Scherer. Emotions evoked by the sound of music: Characterization, classification, and measurement. Emotion, 8(4): 494–521, 2008.

[2] A. Aljanaki, D. Bountouridis, J. A. Burgoyne, J. van Balen, F. Wiering, H. Honing, and R. C. Veltkamp. Designing games with a purpose for data collection in music research. Emotify and Hooked: Two case studies. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 29–44, 2014.

[3] A. Aljanaki, F. Wiering, and R. C. Veltkamp. Collecting annotations for induced musical emotion via online game with a purpose Emotify. Technical report.

[4] A. Aljanaki, F. Wiering, R. C. Veltkamp. Studying emotion induced by music through a crowdsourcing game. Information Processing & Management, 2015.