Why Music MattersJan 13, 2008
There is something deeply mysterious about music. Why does it affect us so powerfully? Is it like a language, telling us something?
I'm in the airport at Tucson. I'm listening online to our episode on "Why Music Matters" which we recorded in front of live audience at a locale in San Francisco. David Harrington, of the world famous Kronos Quartet is our guest. Since my flight is about to board, I won't have time to listen at length. And I've been too wrapped up in the conference to blog about the topic. But I thought it might be fun just to open up an entry to comments from listeners about the show and the topic. I'll add my own two cents worth in a separate entry when I get some time --hopefully later this week.
For now, comments on the episode from listeners are welcome. Post away!
Sunday, January 13, 2008 -- 4:00 PMMusic matters because it's exemplifies the need to
Music matters because it's exemplifies the need to know.
Music, like any language is a 'confrontation' and as such we have an innate desire to resolve it.
And because music is so much simpler than other languages (compare the number of notes to the number of words...what is the distinction of a single note? (Ask Pete Townshend...is that was Pure and Easy was about?...that a single note could actually be fully understood by all?)))
Sunday, January 13, 2008 -- 4:00 PMAny layman who has read Oliver Sacks' book "Musico
Any layman who has read Oliver Sacks' book "Musicophilia would say
that music matters. Schopenhauer is railing from his grave...
Sunday, January 13, 2008 -- 4:00 PMPer my obsession with present homo sapiens versus
Per my obsession with present homo sapiens versus pre-homo sapiens: Was music a Darwinian "survival skill"? Going far out on a limb, I say no! Perhaps a long shot and dangerously close to creationism (!!), but 'music appreciation' may be a Stephen Gould "punctuation" in the evolutionary scheme. Which means that the violin or Hayden (or fill in at will), are most unique and especially remarkable in the universe.
Thursday, January 17, 2008 -- 4:00 PMOne of the biggest mysteries of life to me is why
One of the biggest mysteries of life to me is why should a series of sound frequencies evoke emotional responses in humans. One sequense is sad another happy and infinatly subtle differences in between. Why?
Saturday, January 19, 2008 -- 4:00 PMI am afraid I received notification about this pro
I am afraid I received notification about this program too late to hear it. Does anyone know when it will be available for download? .Is there any other place or way I can hear it?
I am feeling the resonance of the importance to me of the topic, but need to get to the source.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 -- 4:00 PM>>> One of the biggest mysteries of life to me is
>>> One of the biggest mysteries of life to me is why should a series of sound frequencies evoke emotional responses in humans. One sequense is sad another happy and infinatly subtle differences in between. Why?
It might not...you play a random sequence of sound frequencies and it's the only response is UUGGGH...just as any dissonant or unfamiliar noise.
I submit to you that it's not the 'music' per se but instead the familiarity. People hated rock but I think it was just about being unfamiliar, not about volume (because the same happened with Jazz, big bands, and anything that made teens 'get overexcited').
You play someone a completely new kind of music for the first time it's strange...you play it 5x then it becomes familiar and has emotional impact (just like any input does, especially language)...then you play something similar and they get the pattern recognition going.
Friday, March 28, 2008 -- 5:00 PMWhen we aren't just enjoying it, music is a truly
When we aren't just enjoying it, music is a truly baffling subject. One might be tempted to suggest that music arouses emotion by evoking associations. However, this doesn't explain how a piece of music can deeply effect someone on the first listen.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 -- 5:00 PMoh me goodness! why you all seriously analyze this
oh me goodness! why you all seriously analyze this subject. music is emotion. people dont create music because they are analytical. although the rational world wants you to believe it is. anyone who has been a musician knows that the most complecated piece is made beautiful by emotion, not technical perfection. wake up elitests!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Thursday, April 3, 2008 -- 5:00 PMAn elegant geometry solution can be beaut
An elegant geometry solution can be beautiful---
I have experienced the same thing being beautiful one day and not beautiful the next. That is, I have no sentiment that it is beautiful, whereas previously I had.
Let's bring the perception problem:
Assuming there is a split between the world and the mind--then hard to pin down whether a thing in the world
is beautiful or whether the mind sees the thing as beautiful--but there is no such quality to the thing.
Is something beautiful and at times we are in the
right frame of mind to see its beauty or is nothing either beautiful or not beautiful and we project the beauty onto the thing?
In other words does beauty correspond to a kind of mood--that may come and go even in regard to the same object?
Or does beauty result from a combination of circumstances that may be unique and may or may not be reproducible?
If we posit that every opinion has emotional and non-emotional aspects---How much of opinion is emotion and how much not emotion? Is it better just to leave the issue undecided and just say that we have sentiments---one of which is that something is beautiful?
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder---then it seems anything can be beautiful. I remember seeing spray painted circles all over a tall building --the circles were made by painters to mark out places to be patched--prior to painting--- and I found the pattern beautiful.
But then, can a severed head be beautiful?
And is the old distinction between the beautiful and the sublime--a valid one? May something be sublime
without being beautiful and vice versa?
Debussy's piano piece, Claire de Lune, I find beautiful---but many parts of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring I do not--- but Rite has sublimity--a kind of overawing power----
Maybe sublimity is a sub-category of beauty
or beauty a type of sublimity?
Saturday, July 26, 2008 -- 5:00 PMI was disappointed with the discussion; there was
I was disappointed with the discussion; there was no positive explanation of the power of music, just a tearing down of any possible reason to believe music is important, and that its effect on us is profound. It is easier to tear somethingh down than build something up, that is all this show "proves."
Saturday, August 2, 2008 -- 5:00 PMIn response to Robert Sharp: Why should there h
In response to Robert Sharp:
Why should there have been an explanation of "the power of music?" The topic is why music matters, i.e. reasons why music is important. Although, the power of music is a good topic to explore, so I will do so. What do you mean by "the power of music?" Are you referring to emotional, political, and/or political power? I can only readily agree that music has an artistic power (otherwise it wouldn't be an artform). Emotional power seems to be derived from a listener's associations and political power seems to be derived from a musician's ulterior motives. Any thoughts?
In response to the general discussion:
If music is simply just emotional, then what would make it art in comparison to a neuro-stimulating device that allows us to experience emotions similar to those that music provokes? Do other qualities such as composition come into play?