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Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
#2984761 05/27/20 07:30 PM
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I have read about and seen people's emotional response to music. I feel like I am missing something here. I don't think I really have an emotional response. I guess an extreme example would be the pianist or conductor shedding a tear near the end of a performance which I have seen on several occasions.

Now I am not completely devoid of any emotion, for example Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is disturbing to me and will definitely give me some pause. Also Tchaikovskys 6th has some power to sway me in a sad way.

Piano solo though seems to be much less powerful to me. Still if the tune is hopping along I do have a tendency to smile a bit as I play. On the solemn side though very little.

Now if I put on some "sad" symphony or piano and just sat around trying to think about all the negative experiences I have encountered during my lifetime while listening to that piece of music I could probably bring myself to tears but that wouldn't be fun. And I don't think other people are doing this (maybe they do in some sort of personal sickness!)

Lastly, on this muse, I am thinking this must be developed as well. For instance many of the top performing pianists in the world who started young... I doubt they were breaking down over playing chopsticks at 5 years old or some easier Chopin at 8... maybe I am wrong though.

Whats your experience with an emotional response to your piano playing? Did it just appear or grow over time? Or maybe you feel you have a limited one as well?

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984777 05/27/20 08:22 PM
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Some musicians show almost no emotion when playing but that doesn't mean they have no emotional response.

The response to playing easier Chopin is no different from playing hard Chopin.

"Emotional response" may very well mean different things to different people, but if you have no response to some type of music, I think many would ask why you are playing that kind of music.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984783 05/27/20 08:46 PM
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Emotion is overrated - Groucho Marx (or was it Plato?)

Gimme this, and I won't shed a tear:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6AuSs55t64

........unless I'm watching Death in Venice whistle.

But this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ-QMGjlGVA

......might - just - wring a tear out of me. But only under the right conditions (e.g. when chopping onions).

However, this might work thumb:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzpi8cSQJz8


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984799 05/27/20 09:27 PM
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I've heard quite a few solo piano performances from great pianists who can bring lots of strong and different emotions. Some of them had a deep impact on me, regardless if I wanted to or not, which in my book means they are great performances. On the other hand, there are myriads/gazillions of quite boring renderings of masterworks, and lots of them played by well-known pianists. Emotion is a personal thing, just like you don't decide to fall in love with someone. What is incredibly sad or happy to someone might be felt entirely differently by others.

When I record something and want to make it public online or otherwise, while listening to it afterwards I make sure the piece brings in me the emotions I believe should be felt. If it happens, then I consider it is good enough to publish, otherwise I don't share it and either erase the recording or continue to polish the work until it might become satisfactory later.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984830 05/28/20 12:43 AM
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99% of performances leave me unmoved. The 1% that move me are why I love music.

I find that in general, concertos are what move me the most followed by a select few solo piano works. Usually I get an emotional response to works that I know very well that are played incredibly - rarely will I hear something the first time and be moved by it. This probably has to do with the fact that my emotional responses tend to be from works I consider profound as opposed to "happy" or more trite. Something like Debussy is interesting to me and I enjoy it, but will never move me like the Bach Chaconne or a Rachmaninov concerto will.

Last edited by computerpro3; 05/28/20 12:43 AM.
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984884 05/28/20 06:28 AM
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Tricky stuff, emotions. I'm probably the opposite here because I tend to be overly affected by sad, wheepy stuff - which can be reinforced if the are are sad, wheepy words attatched. On the other hand, there are emotions of exhileration, happiness and, well, just the sheer beauty of a piece which I often get, which compensates somewhat. However, just listening isn't sometimes enough, but playing (I often play quite slowly, partly because I'm pretty bad and partly because it suits my temperament, but that can really accentuate the sad stuff) heightens the feelings because one is 'part of it.'

I do remember hearing one performance of Mozart Symphony no 41 (Jupiter) that made me quite miserable whereas it usually just sounds beautiful and satisfying to me. It just made me feel profoundly depressed, it wasn't that I thought it badly performed. Most odd. I think it was probably a little too slow and managed to wring out the pathos which is there but not always evident to me.

There are times when I could happily do without these emotions, particularly the sobby ones.


regards
Pete
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984890 05/28/20 06:44 AM
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For me, music is an experience in and of itself. I don't understand what emotion has to do with it (most of the time).

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
johnstaf #2984895 05/28/20 07:21 AM
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Nor do I, but the two are often linked in my case, so I googled 'music and emotion.' Lo and behold, it seems that this is an area of study keeping lots of people quite busy. I have to admit, though, that I didn't read the whole thing, but here's a link to, well, a wiki article:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_and_emotion
I'll probably go back and read it later - well, possibly. I got the gist of it from scanning through...

Btw, to the OP, 'The Rite of Spring' was one piece I listened to once and made a mental note against of 'never again,' along with 'Mars' from Holst's 'Planet Suite,' which for some reason was very popular at one time. All a matter of taste, I guess.


regards
Pete
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984902 05/28/20 08:02 AM
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I think this is much more common when you're younger, first time you heard Fur Elise as a 7 year old or w/e. Still you bear that sensation with you even if you don't react the same way anymore.
Personally I find it much more common to respond emotionally if I'm surprised by the music, like hearing a violinist on the street or in some sappy commercial. Playing a record or attending a concert, knowing what to expect, doesn't do it for me. Unless! there's an encore that you didn't expect...

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984919 05/28/20 08:33 AM
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I think the role of emotion in music tends to be overstated. As someone who studies aesthetics a bit. I lean more towards formalism or some sort of Kantian "aesthetic experience" view of the arts. In any case, I don't think anyone is "doing it wrong" or "missing" out if they aren't weeping at the end of a piece ...


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984926 05/28/20 08:41 AM
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Some of the above posts seem to limit the idea of emotion to things like feeling happy or sad or making one cry, but for me it's much broader. For example, I will never tire of the opening of Ravel's Ondine although it doesn't make me feel happy or sad. It just moves me by its beauty.

So I think different posters are discussing different things on this thread depending on their concept of "emotional response".

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
pianoloverus #2984932 05/28/20 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Some of the above posts seem to limit the idea of emotion to things like feeling happy or sad or making one cry, but for me it's much broader. For example, I will never tire of the opening of Ravel's Ondine although it doesn't make me feel happy or sad. It just moves me by its beauty.

So I think different posters are discussing different things on this thread depending on their concept of "emotional response".

Indeed. What you're describing sounds like Kant's aesthetic experience theory: it's a dedicated aesthetic reaction ("emotion") that's distinct from the usual emotions of happy, sad, etc.

Even among emotion theories, there are some that suggest that art should arouse literal emotional responses (make you feel happy, sad, etc.), while others suggest that art evokes emotions in a more distanced way so that we can experience and reflect on them without directly experiencing them.

Interesting stuff. Well, to me, anyway ... laugh


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984946 05/28/20 09:22 AM
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I don't regard my aesthetic experience of music as necessarily any more emotional than my experience of food that I like.

Affect and emotion can be separate things.

I wonder what sad chocolate would taste like. 🤔

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
johnstaf #2984951 05/28/20 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
I wonder what sad chocolate would taste like. 🤔

What, you've never been dumped on Valentine's Day?! laugh


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2984966 05/28/20 10:01 AM
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Actually, talking about emotions reminds me that some years ago I read somewhere or other that listening to Massenet used to make Tchaikovsky cry. Well, it got me interested and here's some:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlH2MiIYG3E but of course he did write cheerful music too.

Reading responses here does make me wonder how emotional composers are/were, and does/did emotion play a part in their works, either in the sense of portraying their emotions or arousing emotions in the listener. I'd never really considered it before, tbh, just thought that sometimes emotional intentions/responses were considered, sometimes not. Anyway, ''Poem of Ecstasy' springs to mind, but I believe Beethoven could get quite emotional at times (although I've only come across comments that suggest anger, contempt and so on, but that's perhaps unfair.)


regards
Pete
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2985286 05/29/20 04:45 AM
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I have an emotional reaction to this, but I don't think it's the one that was intended. Well I assume laughing at cheap sentimentality counts as an emotional reaction.... 😂😩😬😅😂🤣


Last edited by johnstaf; 05/29/20 04:49 AM.
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2985298 05/29/20 05:42 AM
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Some very interesting discussion here thanks to all who contributed. Quite a bit was way heavier and deeper than my little brain allows.

I didn't realize the term "emotion" could have so many different aspects. I was really looking at it from the only angle of being brought to tears by a performance.

I am getting the feeling that a lot of what I think is "emotion" during performances may just be "theatrics". And not that there is anything wrong with that whatsoever.

As someone who has never really know or appreciated "the arts", I really have jumped into the deep end since returning to the piano. But I am slowly getting there. Pianism certainly is about hitting the right notes with the right rhythms but it goes way way beyond that. Enter the artist.

Maybe one day I can hit enough notes correctly with the correct rhythms to venture down that path

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2985343 05/29/20 08:26 AM
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I don't think that music is necessarily bound up with emotion - if emotion is forced, it sounds hackneyed, and music can be beautiful without emotion. Personally, I do get emotional responses to music, although it's not as though the same piece causes the same response every time. Orchestral music often has an emotional effect on me, either for the scale and fullness of sound ( Eroica finale) or the beauty (Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune). Piano music as well, (Chopin's Ballade 4, Mozart K.332 Mvt.2) although this depends on the pianist. The two combined is most likely to produce an emotional response - Liszt's first, Schumann and Grieg, any one of the Rachmaninoff concertos...

Last edited by Florestan7; 05/29/20 08:30 AM.
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2985423 05/29/20 12:04 PM
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Tchaikovsky's Land of Mists is deeply emotive.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2985435 05/29/20 12:48 PM
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Another bit of reading - shorter than the first link I posted but one I can relate to. Interestingly, it says, among other things, "Musical emotions are less common than we might think."

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php

so not weeping at the end of a concert is definitely acceptable smile


regards
Pete
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