What is in music that influences our psyche in so many sensations? For myself, I find a work with beautiful, lush, full strings in any mode will cause my emotions to either dance in happiness, or swell in sorrowfulness. I was wondering how many of you fine composers take the human emotional factor in careful consideration when forming your compositions? In addition, what particular elements of theory do you consent to or reject when forming your compositions in this manner if so?
For myself, I think of big fat bullfrogs jumping across a busy intersection and trying to dodge fast moving vehicles. Some making the journey without a scratch while others ending up on the fast track to oblivion!
No, not really! What do you think I am, some sort of a sick puppy? Besides, they’re not frogs … they’re chickunz!
Note, The note I left you was noted by a previous note from a note not mentioned in the note that was noted by the note that you failed to notice the note I left you. Notice?
Having written music for screen - the goal of which is to enhance the emotions, or the performance of the actors - it still amazes me what it can do.
For example, there was one dramatic scene I was to create music for a week ago - the lead actress, who was doing a marvellous job, was feverishly working around a kitchen when she realised that she had forgotten to take some pills (probably to relax her as her compulsive and controlling husband was coming home soon).
When played without music the scene is unfortunately quite amusing. Not quite the drama the director was looking for. It wasn't due to the performance, just the bizare nature of the scene.
When I was playing with the scene, I had created a fairly cliche suspence opening (the only part of the scene that was intentionally funny) using midrange tremolo strings, and cello/basses quietly underneith a repeditive, plodding, clarinet line. But then as the scene played on and the woman carried on her kitchen activities, I slowly changed to a more sombre style - a slow, chord playing harp and clarinet above. This time the you felt compasion, and her "loss" of who she was or could have been. Not only that but having the more amusing part first made this sadder part more emotive and real (because when you make an emotional connection, your brains makes it seem more real.)
How does it affect the psyche? I don't know for sure, but what I do know is that when I play certain pieces of music along with a scene they will either make me feel something, or they wont.
I've heard many people say it's due to conditioning, that we've grown up with entertainment, images and music, and that we've been trained to put certain feelings to music. I think it is true in part, especially in terms of popular culture references, and other specifics.
Rhythm and dance is apparently a strange one though - its been found (if someone can remember the actual facts on this) that when you get a group of people together, some rhythm, then people want to dance. It's part of some genetic human socialisation thing - can't remember (probably channel surfed through the discovery channel). Having said that, there is no gene for good dancing ability.
I personally think that, while conditioning does play a part, people are born with a basic feeling for music. Harsh instruments can make you cringe a little, whilst soft instruments calm you (much like the human voice can soothe or hurt a child). Loud music energises you, while subtle music can either calm you or concern you.
Even the feelings we get from some chord progressions could be seen as a natural understanding - especially when you consider the harmonics produced from one chord naturally lead to other chords - and if you disrupt that natural order of things, people are going to "feel" something isn't right.
So I believe we are born with an innate ability to feel music - but as with walking, talking, playing an instrument, etc, we learn about it more as we grow.
This is why, even though cliche music exists (horror, sci-fi, mills and boon, playboy), you can mix it up and play with it a lot, just so long as you get the desired effect.
Geezz Matt, your work sounds awesome and quite challenging.
I'm listening to the original Judy Garland recording of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and trying to capture what the orchestra's instruments are playing. But, what is happening is the music, regardless of how old the recording quality is, how it is effecting me. I remember when I was a child how my brothers, sister, mom and dad would get all excited when The Wizard of Oz came on TV. I would wait for the song and it would take me in that dream of Dorothy's. Funny, how it still strikes that emotion in me still today. I wish I could find the full orchestra score of this song and maybe even the whole movie.
Thanks for contributing to this post. Means a lot to me.