On this thread, I hear a lot about emotion vs. intelligence in one way or another. I would like to discuss something that I feel has been neglected a little when discussing that argument, which is individual emotional and personality traits.Because we are all so different in a way, we each have a different response to emotional situations, especially in music. What is passionate to one person is boring to another. What one person finds funny another person finds offensive. because we all react differently to things when I hear comments like "this piece was emotionally flat" or "this piece is sooo emotional" I wonder, what is emotional to you? This prompts me to ask the following;

How would you describe your personality; emotional, complacent, cynical, negative, optimistic, ect?

What are some of your emotional triggers?

What life experiences have you had that might explain your emotional triggers?

How do you think your emotional personality effects what music you listen to and how you write music?

What emotions do you seek in music, yours and others?



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  • How would you describe your personality; emotional, complacent, cynical, negative, optimistic, ect?

    I can waffle between optimistic, and a little too practical. I tend to use sarcasm until the rough part is over for the group.


    What are some of your emotional triggers?

    You mean that the outside world can see? They wouldn't know... most people think i have a "flat response". (i really dont, but... thats what you'll see... not much perceptible response, save for some sarcasm...)



    What life experiences have you had that might explain your emotional triggers?

    When i was little? i was one of those precocious kids, that was socially... stunted? I got picked on as a little kid a lot. Boo hoo.
    started to come out of my shell in the late teens. Eh, why lie? Annoying pocket protector teen. I had just ONE best friend, that was about it. We were close. It was weird, he was the cool one out of the two of us... as I came more and more out of my shell, he got "funny". *shrugs* finally I got really drunk one night at a party... and my "best friend" waited till i passed out, and literally kicked my face in with work boots for quite some time. Broke my jaw in 3 or 4 places so it poked thru the skin, no nose left, broke the eye bones around one eye, eye occluded out and went all red, over half my ribs broken, dislocated hip. cheek and sinus crushed flat and opened. Only reason I ever got was that "i spit, and some of it landed on his shoe, and that made him mad." LMAO

    I had already been into being a "tough guy" so people would leave me alone as I grew up, and out... after that? I kinda went nuts. Just to make it easier on me, i got my heart broke by women a couple times, yah, boo hoo, LMAO. i didnt really trust ANYone for a long time. I can be quiet around people I dont know, or I can run up and talk to strangers, but its fake. I like crowds, to get lost in them. I got to where I LIKE fighting, but, I don't do it for no reason. Fighting is a sport, and it gets boring. I'm 42 now, and my body doesn't recover from fights like it used to, LMAO... so, I'm slowing down some. I ended up with one old lady, for over 20 years. One best friend, fro over 20 years. A handful of other friends. You know how most people have "lots" of friends? Those are "acquaintances". Friends are like family. I have very few, and I jealously guard their trust.

    I really dont HAVE any emotional triggers. No matter what you do to me, I'll just stand there and look at you. I keep my cool, and i really dont get "mad".


    How do you think your emotional personality effects what music you listen to and how you write music?

    I like to listen to: Laura Branigan, Queensryche, Moody Blues, Floyd, ELO, Old Metallica, Slayer, Savatage, Annihilator(alice in hell),Phantom of the opera, and classical stuff... amongst others.

    I am "homing in" on the Sonata form, because i figure that will enable me to write the above types of music, i figure. *shrugs* most of those have one or more classically trained musicians writing the stuff...


    What emotions do you seek in music, yours and others? I want "quality", not simple crap fro the masses. Dark and heavy, or, bittersweet and beautiful.I like a powerful music sound, or a powerful singer, or really quality bittersweet.

    What am i like? In person, to work around? or hang out with? Always making jokes, usually sarcastic. I am practical to a fault. Dont care how it looks, it just has to work well. Thru bains and presistence, there's nothing that cant be done... its just a matter of time is all. Most of my hobbies have a "high brow" tint to them. SO i'm a little pretentious... sue me. I make up for it by being polite, hardworking, and honest, and helpful.i tend to do pretty well... but when I make a boner, I make a big one... like, the forest for the trees kind of thing that should be obvious, LMAO

    I honestly do not care what other people think or say. I'm a staunch conservative. I really do not care what anyone else does with their personal life. Its none of my business. Whatever I do, I try to never be intimidated. I always come back for more, LMAO.
  • Michael Tauben said:
    This seems a curious topic for a music forum and perhaps better suited to a psychology or anthropology forum.
    What is all this over emphasis on emotion anyway. What about aesthetics? Argument? Design? Architecture? In short, what about Art?
    Would you ask the question, "what emotions do you seek in painting, in poetry, in sculpture?

    For me, something only has a positive aesthetic value--and I do not just mean on the broadest level of the whole piece, but particular aspects of musical structure, from the most fine-grained details to larger units like harmonic progressions, etc.--insofar as the thing in question emotionally resonates with me. That's largely what it IS to have aesthetic value in my view (I'd actually say it's a particular subclass of emotionally resonant things). So emotions are certainly important.
    How we as individuals respond Emotionaly to music
    On this thread, I hear a lot about emotion vs. intelligence in one way or another. I would like to discuss something that I feel has been neglected a…
  • Michael Tauben said:
    Where as Stravinsky believed ( at least said) that music was powerless to express anything and that any perceived emotional content in his music was merely a by-product.
    I agree with Stravinsky, although probably for my own reasons--it's because music, or anything else other than a mind, can't literally have emotionally content in it. Because of that, I disagree with this: "Music is so much more than a vehicle for transferring emotions from one place to another." Music can not somehow "transfer emotions" at all in my view. Rather, what it does is catalyze emotional responses in listeners, and that's what makes it important to listeners. Again, it's what aesthetic value is about--whether the sounds in question are catalyzing emotional responses that the listeners enjoy.
    How we as individuals respond Emotionaly to music
    On this thread, I hear a lot about emotion vs. intelligence in one way or another. I would like to discuss something that I feel has been neglected a…


  • Streaker Ofinsky said:
    Michael Tauben said:
    Where as Stravinsky believed ( at least said) that music was powerless to express anything and that any perceived emotional content in his music was merely a by-product.
    I agree with Stravinsky, although probably for my own reasons--it's because music, or anything else other than a mind, can't literally have emotionally content in it. Because of that, I disagree with this: "Music is so much more than a vehicle for transferring emotions from one place to another." Music can not somehow "transfer emotions" at all in my view. Rather, what it does is catalyze emotional responses in listeners, and that's what makes it important to listeners. Again, it's what aesthetic value is about--whether the sounds in question are catalyzing emotional responses that the listeners enjoy.

    This is one of those "if a tree falls in the forest" deals, but music really is nothing without a listener, whether they be listening with their eyes as they read a score or with their ears. The actual physical document does exist, but its motion through time as it is shaped by a human mind is what makes it music. So since I view it that way, I say the emotions are in there, because I define "there" differently. Of course, what "there" is depends on what a listener is focused on.
    How we as individuals respond Emotionaly to music
    On this thread, I hear a lot about emotion vs. intelligence in one way or another. I would like to discuss something that I feel has been neglected a…
  • Tombo Rombo said:
    This is one of those "if a tree falls in the forest" deals, but music really is nothing without a listener, whether they be listening with their eyes as they read a score or with their ears. The actual physical document does exist, but its motion through time as it is shaped by a human mind is what makes it music. So since I view it that way, I say the emotions are in there, because I define "there" differently. Of course, what "there" is depends on what a listener is focused on.
    Well, although I do not believe that emotions can be transferred period. They're in individuals' heads and can't come out of there as emotions. ;-)
    How we as individuals respond Emotionaly to music
    On this thread, I hear a lot about emotion vs. intelligence in one way or another. I would like to discuss something that I feel has been neglected a…


  • Streaker Ofinsky said:
    .
    Well, although I do not believe that emotions can be transferred period. They're in individuals' heads and can't come out of there as emotions. ;-)

    You got me there, the emotions I feel while listening will not be transferred to the next person who listens. Unless I write a paper about it and they read my paper before listening I guess.

    On a somewhat related note, I have noticed that I listen differently when playing music for friends because I try to imagine how they hear it. I guess the emotion there would be anxiety. I have often decided I don't really like a piece after "seeing it through another's eyes."
    How we as individuals respond Emotionaly to music
    On this thread, I hear a lot about emotion vs. intelligence in one way or another. I would like to discuss something that I feel has been neglected a…
  • On a somewhat related note, I have noticed that I listen differently when playing music for friends because I try to imagine how they hear it. I guess the emotion there would be anxiety. I have often decided I don't really like a piece after "seeing it through another's eyes."


    I know what you mean there. I cannot for the life of me hear music with other peoples' ears. I've given up trying.

    It's not that music doesn't move me. I wouldn't have devoted my life to it if I didn't deeply love ( an emotion?) it.

    But... Mendelssohn and Stravinsky are both right. On the one hand how can I put a name to that particular emotion I experience when listening to the Arietta from Beethoven's C minor Op 111 sonata- for example . ( And of course the emotion will change from passage to passage) I am left at the ending with the feeling of having been in the presence of something profound.
    It is not the case that Beethoven was thinking.... 'ah, in this passage I want to convey this emotion and in that passage I want the listener feel that emotion....'etc. He wasn't writing film music.

    And on the other hand. If anyone in this forum can describe what emotion they think Stravinsky is trying to convey in, say, the Symphonies of Wind Instruments ( please don't quote the chorale at the end) Do tell.




  • Michael Tauben said:
    Mendelssohn and Stravinsky are both right. On the one hand how can I put a name to that particular emotion I experience when listening to the Arietta from Beethoven's C minor Op 111 sonata- for example . ( And of course the emotion will change from passage to passage) I am left at the ending with the feeling of having been in the presence of something profound.
    It is not the case that Beethoven was thinking.... 'ah, in this passage I want to convey this emotion and in that passage I want the listener feel that emotion....'etc. He wasn't writing film music.





    I agree that there is no one emotion that any piece triggers. Maybe a better word would be "feelings" (with an emphasis on the "s"), nothing more than feelings. Music can be surprising by interrupting a pattern with something from left field, it can be jolting by using a sudden fortissimo, it can be grating by focusing on dissonance for a long period of time, and those reactions will be similair for human beings in general because of the way we are wired. Other reactions are more personal and will be different for everybody.
    How we as individuals respond Emotionaly to music
    On this thread, I hear a lot about emotion vs. intelligence in one way or another. I would like to discuss something that I feel has been neglected a…
  • Since I was very young it was a natural response (it seemed) to be emotional about music. Every kind of music had a depth of emotion to me. It wasn't until I was older that I realized not everyone was like that! Ha! Is that why I am a musician? Most likely.

    I have spent some time researching why some people respond emotionally and some do not. The one thing I found out is that musicians respond more to music than non-musicians in scientific research data. If one studies music there seems to be higher measurable response.

    The music that has moved me seems to vary from a great up tempo George Gershwin to the melancholy/spirituality of Samuel Barber's G minor Adagio. The harmonic choices made by the composers seem to draw a more emotional response, especially the use of extension (tension) voicings in contemporary or jazz idioms. I cannot leave out the emotion I feel when I listen to Bach or Haydn however and these are much purer forms of composition.

    The more I study music, especially composing and theory the less emotional I become as a listener or player! I gain such an appreciation of the process and what has been written before me that when someone else has an emotional response from something I have written I feel that I have done my job! I do want people to feel something in their soul or heart that equates to something beautiful, whether it's sad, happy or other worldly.

    I'm not sure if I answered all of the questions...but I do enjoy this discussion and pondering the emotional side of music. I think it's fascinating... There's also the phenomenon of the musician themselves and their approach to the instrument and the music. If I think the word "beautiful" before I play something it seems to come out differently than if I'm just playing to learn it, or memorize, etc. I see this with my students too.
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