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  1. #1
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Default Music Tones and Emotions.

    The thought of "Posts songs that describe your current mood" thread lead me to the idea of looking up tones and emotions. I'm no music major, but I do notice the pattern of music I generally like listening too. The tone, pitch, and the loudness of the song is easily more recognizable when listening to.... say classical (or one with less vocals.) Those sounds can "easily" be translatable to a certain mood we feel... whether it is peacefulness, melancholy, happiness, anger, anxiety, etc. When we listen to a song that is offbeat, it is like the equivalent (as a comparison) of someone going to a funeral to party, which is very out of place.

    http://howmusicreallyworks.com/Pages_Chapter_3/3_4.html

    http://www.dukechronicle.com/article...cific-emotions

    A small man, wearing a suit and tie and hunched over a Steinway and Sons grand piano, started his performance.

    Last month, renowned pianist Anton Kuerti came to Duke as part of Duke Performances’ piano recital series. For three hours, his music took those in the audience on an emotional journey, courtesy of Ludwig van Beethoven. A recent study conducted by Duke neuroscientists found music’s capacity to affect our emotions might be linked to notes’ similarity to vocal tones.

    “We were interested in why major [key] music makes people happy and why minor [key] music makes them sad,” said Daniel Bowling, a third-year Ph.D. student in neuroscience and co-author of the paper. “Why should certain collections of music sound happy and others sad?”

    Bowling’s group had 10 native American English speakers record vocal monologues in both excited, happy tones and sad, subdued ones. The scientists then matched the monologues’ frequencies to those of 7,000 musical pieces. Frequencies of minor tones in the musical pieces corresponded to those of subdued monologues while major tones’ frequencies matched those of excited monologues.

    Finding emotions in notes, however, is not restricted to the laboratory.

    “Looking at different keys, E-flat has a warm, regal and rich connotation,” said Jonathan Bagg, professor of the practice of music and violist in the Ciompi Quartet. “C-minor, on the other hand, reflects anxiety, unsettledness and darkness.”

    Composers choose the appropriate key for a particular piece, Bagg said. Music performed at a dinner party, where the overall sentiment is one of frivolity, would be in a major key, whereas music performed at a funeral would be in a minor one, he added.

    Emotions are channeled not only in notes, but in the instruments that play them, Bagg said. Instruments take on a distinct character, and can be sorrowful and elegiac or jubilant and celebratory.

    “The viola is an introspective instrument—plaintive, reserved and darker than the violin,” he said. “It is the opposite of the flute, which is showy and more extroverted.”

    A singer’s voice—particularly in opera—works to convey feeling like an instrument.

    “In the opera, roles are assigned based on a performer’s vocal ability and type,” said Wayne Lail, a lecturer in voice and Baritone who performed in German opera houses for decades. “Sopranos, who reach the highest notes and can fluctuate and flourish vocally, are happy characters who convey warmth. Tenors, who fall between sopranos and bass in the vocal range, are always youthful lovers—faithful or unfaithful. The bass, who have deep and powerful voices, play villains, kings, high priests and fathers.”

    Director of Duke Performances Aaron Greenwald said he strives to bring performers who create intimacy with the audience and ratchet up the emotional intensity of a show.

    “I listen to music for the way it makes me feel, and for the emotional places it takes me. On one level, what you want is for music to give you joy and be beautiful—from there you can go places,” Greenwald said.
    Excuse the game music (I've been through a lot of them where I've found many to my liking) but I've found music like: This, This, This and This to be the types I tend to always go back to as they fit my mood to varying degrees.

  2. #2
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    An interesting thread. I enjoy music very much myself, and would be glad to have more insight into the feelings it somehow manages to engender. I do wonder about the opera comment, though:

    “In the opera, roles are assigned based on a performer’s vocal ability and type,” said Wayne Lail, a lecturer in voice and Baritone who performed in German opera houses for decades. “Sopranos, who reach the highest notes and can fluctuate and flourish vocally, are happy characters who convey warmth. Tenors, who fall between sopranos and bass in the vocal range, are always youthful lovers—faithful or unfaithful. The bass, who have deep and powerful voices, play villains, kings, high priests and fathers.”
    Do we associate, for instance, basses with villains and kings because of some inherent property of that voice type, or simply because tradition has led to basses being cast in those roles and we now expect it?
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  3. #3
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Do we associate, for instance, basses with villains and kings because of some inherent property of that voice type, or simply because tradition has led to basses being cast in those roles and we now expect it?
    I think it is a little bit of both. But I don't even know the reason behind opera voices myself. A person in a soprano voice doesn't sound to scary as opposed to a person with a bass-voice. I mean, just thinking of a person with a falsetto (as a comparison) voice trying to sound scary like a villain or king gives me a chuckle.

  5. #5
    SingSmileShine
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    I thoroughly enjoy this thread! I wish there were more posts on it.

    It really is incredible what music can do to your brain and your heart. It stimulates and empowers you. And, even though every major/minor key holds the same intervals between notes, it is true that some major keys hold different "emotions," shall we say. For instance, listen to the Hallelujah Chorus (which is in D major) and then listen to Rachmaninoff's 18th variation of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in Db major. It's a half-step lower, but the latter is deeper, I think. I also know that one is vocal and one isn't, but those were the first two comparisons to come into my mind haha. (:

    I guess for voices, it's what we've come to know. Sopranos are generally the female leads, the ingenues, the sweet heroine in love, and mezzos/altos can be the evil witches. Tenors are the heroes and the fighters, basses are the evil ones. I guess it's just how they're perceived. That's not to say that there aren't exceptions!

  6. #6
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    I dont really know what to say, other than yes tones are like words for emotions and melody is like a story told by emotions. But naturally you can be sarcastic with the melody by using inappropriate feelings(tones) in it to make it humorous etc

    I didnt know there were people who werent able to see it this way.

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  7. #7
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    I dont really know what to say, other than yes tones are like words for emotions and melody is like a story told by emotions. But naturally you can be sarcastic with the melody by using inappropriate feelings(tones) in it to make it humorous etc

    I didnt know there were people who werent able to see it this way.
    Pretty sure most people can see/perceive it in a general way. But to get deeper into it is a different matter I suppose.

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