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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
SiFi #2987620 06/03/20 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter
. . . it seems we're running up to the intentional fallacy here.
I was about to say the same thing. For those who may not be familiar with the seminal essay by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley, here it is:

https://faculty.smu.edu/nschwart/seminar/fallacy.htm

Although several academics have poked holes in this theory of literary criticism, I don't think many people disagree with the central idea: An artist's intentions when he or she created a work of art are essentially irrelevant to any appraisal of that work once it is released to the public.

Funny you quoted that essay. I actually think that the lawn on which the author wrote the novel has a lot to do with the novel.

It may not be possible to find out what the composer is thinking while writing a piece of music, but it doesn't hurt to guess and play history detective. It's part of the fun.


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
jjo #2987682 06/04/20 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jjo
having just read this long and interesting thread, I thought to add one perspective I haven't seen.

To me, music is all about feelings. That's just me, of course, music may be different for others. But my comment is about the notion that feelings are simple ones like sadness or happiness. The greatness of music, to me, is that I could not identify what those feelings are; they are deeper and more complex that what I could put in words. I may have had a terrible day, but I'll sit down and play something majestic. What am I expressing? I have no concrete idea. I just know that I got some very deep feelings out in the music. Similarly, on the listening end, great music just makes me vibrate with feelings I couldn't put a name on.

But that's just me!
I guess you feel what other people feel. It's emotions but often it's difficult to identify them and to describe verbally. The emotions that music brings are certainly not just joy and sadness, it brings is a very wide variety of feelings, it may be a feeling of hope, a feeling of power, a feeling of freshness, of achievement, yearning, anxiety, embarrassment, uncertainty, parting, etc. And also there are gradations and countless combinations of these emotions, like bitter joy or pleasurable melancholy, these emotions have no names and it's often difficult even to notice them in a fast music flow, but still it's all emotions and they bring some degree of affection no matter if we recognize them or not.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2987684 06/04/20 05:48 AM
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One more interesting thing that hasn't been discussed and I think is worth mentioning is visual images that music may bring, too. I know many people, me included, like to close their eyes when listening and often there are imaginary scenes appearing inspired by the music. Program music is certainly better in that regard.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2987723 06/04/20 08:24 AM
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Okay, I promised / threatened a bit of philosophical aesthetics. 😊 This will be necessarily concise, even shallow, but maybe it’ll facilitate discussion. It’s going to take more than one post, so I’ll work on it here and there, ‘cuz I’ve got other things to do! laugh It’s useful when discussing emotions to compare / contrast with other approaches, so let me start with a non-emotion option …


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2987724 06/04/20 08:24 AM
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I usually start an aesthetics class discussing mimetic (Greek mimesis, “imitation”) theories. These theories claim that art is an “imitation” of something. These theories are among the oldest in the Western philosophical tradition, going back at least as far as Plato. (Not sure about non-Western traditions, but I suspect they’d be among the oldest as well, because they tend to be fairly intuitive, and seem like and obvious place to start when discussing the arts.)

However, as the scare quotes suggest, “imitation” needs some clarification; in fact, we often prefer to use the word “representation” rather than “imitation,” and then distinguish between two subcategories. The first is representation by resemblance, which claims that art resembles its objects in a very straightforward, perceptual way. This is art as “illusion” as it were, aiming to produce something as perceptually similar to its object as possible. For example, a realistic painting of a rose literally looks like the rose. The second is representation by convention, where art represents or communicates something about its objects without literally resembling it, but instead through a shared system of meaning such as symbolism. For example, a painting of a lion might symbolize courage. Note this view requires more background knowledge on the part of the audience.

Now, there are a lot more details, and there’s a lot to be said for or against these views, but the biggest initial problem is that it’s not at all clear that all art represents something, either by resemblance or convention. Non-objective abstract painting is an example; a lot of instrumental music is another. Certainly, a lot of art does represent, and that would be an important thing to understand to interact with those works, but many philosophers think it can’t be the whole story and moved on to other theories. Next up (later … ), we’ll talk about emotion-based theories, and do a little compare / contrast.


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2987849 06/04/20 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
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.

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.

Ok you got me curious, why do you bother with piano at all? If you're here I assume you like something about it. If it's not emotional, is there some non-emotional response of you that makes you bother about piano?


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2987866 06/04/20 02:25 PM
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I assume the OP enjoys the piano as much as any of us.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
wouter79 #2987878 06/04/20 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
Ok you got me curious, why do you bother with piano at all? If you're here I assume you like something about it. If it's not emotional, is there some non-emotional response of you that makes you bother about piano?
Even my worst friends (or best enemies) will concede that I'm not an emotional person, even at the worst (or best) of times. If the push comes to the shove, they might just admit that I have a little of the emotional charge of a wasp, but that's really pushing it.

Not that I'm answering for IP (I answer to and for no being), but in fact, I play many pieces just because I enjoy their sensation beneath my hands and fingers (i.e. I enjoy tickling the ivories, though they are plastic), not because I feel anything when playing them. Off the top of my head, there's Chopin's Minute Waltz & Fantasie-Impromptu, Scarlatti's Kk141 & Kk380, Schubert's D899/2, Ginastera's Argentinian Dances No.1 & 3, Albéniz's Asturias, Mozart's K545 - I, Paderewski's Minuet in G.......and those are just some of the short pieces that don't emote me. I just enjoy playing them.

The astute Sir Thomas hit the nail on the head when he proclaimed: 'The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes.'


"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 #2987898 06/04/20 03:34 PM
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Sentiment is not to be confused with Affect. I don't think the poster should feel he needs to be crying or laughing in response to classical music. (Folk music is the best genre for that – separation from loved ones, etc.) In classical music that kind of personal sentimentality is not desirable. The emotion here is more universal. The so-called "affect" in classical music is expected of people in general. Composers fully expect the listener to react emotionally to a dissonance, a key change, or an ostinato. Composers and performers manipulate and toy with your emotions. No one is immune to it.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2987901 06/04/20 03:39 PM
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You know there do seem to be two distinct lots of people dicussing this, those who have emtotions from music (the 'emotion side' as @theophilis Carter put it) and those who don't. Now as one of the 'emotion side' I have difficulty in imagining music without emotion, without that feeling of, well it is difficult to describe, but it isn't just sadness, happiness or whatever, but it I suppose could be described as a sense of well-being, fulfilment, satisfaction or whatever, but possibly in conjunction with other 'ordinary emotions' if the piece triggers them (a sad piece of music, a happy piece of music and so on).

Now here's where things get tricky. To those who don't feel 'emotions,' is there this sense of 'well-being,' 'fulfilment' or whatever or is there something else? It's (almost?) impossible to experience what other people experience, but it it is nice to get some understanding whenever possible - at least in my opinion. As people who love and appreciate music we should all have a lot in common, but it seems that our responses to it vary considerably. It's fascinating, really, and not something to argue about - more to get a deeper understanding of, because in my case at least, to put it bluntly, I'd like to get what the other guys are getting out of it too (or if I can't, at least to understand it)!


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2987903 06/04/20 03:49 PM
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Whats your experience with an emotional response to your piano playing?

Aside from frustration when I play it wrong and cheerful when I play it right, I would not say that I am particularly moved by my own playing.

Or maybe you feel you have a limited one as well?
I feel that I have a limited one too, maybe with listening to more and learning about the piece or the composer may evoke more emotion in me later on.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
Ay9293 #2987914 06/04/20 04:12 PM
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What an interesting question.

At this point (I've played professionally for ages), I don't really react emotionally to how I'm playing, other than an occasion, "nailed that", or "blew that".

OTOH- I have had emotional reactions to the music I was playing. I'll give you 3 examples from "live performances".

- I was overcome with grief playing the final descending scales of the Liszt B Minor Sonata. The pathos, the pain, the struggle Liszt had between his carnal and spiritual natures as evidenced in those two differing scales, really got to me. I nearly lost it on stage.

- I was privileged to play "Send in the Clowns" with Harvey Phillips. As you (may) know, they send in the clowns at circuses when a performer is injured to distract the audience. It's often a serious, if not, fatal injury. Philips, who (as I recall) played tuba in the NY Philharmonic, had started his career playing for... a circus. He had a wonderful arrangement of Send in the Clowns that we played, and again, I nearly broke into tears on stage. The music just MOVED me.

3- Samuel Barber - Knoxville, Summer of 1915. This is usually for soprano and orchestra, but there's an arrangement by the composer for soprano and piano. While performing it with Jennifer Paschal in a museum concert, the beauty of the music pierced me. It was overwhelming.

Beyond performing, I've had emotional reactions to music as I've learned it, where I've fallen in love with a piece. I'll be reading through something, struggling with the details, then, all of a sudden, I HEAR something interesting, or moving, or just plain wonderful, and... THAT is a great feeling.

So... when you get to the point where you're not thinking about the playing, but you are one with the music and the piano, it may happen that listening to the music you are making, and feeling it happen, will move you emotionally.


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
bennevis #2987931 06/04/20 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by wouter79
Ok you got me curious, why do you bother with piano at all? If you're here I assume you like something about it. If it's not emotional, is there some non-emotional response of you that makes you bother about piano?
Even my worst friends (or best enemies) will concede that I'm not an emotional person, even at the worst (or best) of times. If the push comes to the shove, they might just admit that I have a little of the emotional charge of a wasp, but that's really pushing it.

Not that I'm answering for IP (I answer to and for no being), but in fact, I play many pieces just because I enjoy their sensation beneath my hands and fingers (i.e. I enjoy tickling the ivories, though they are plastic), not because I feel anything when playing them. Off the top of my head, there's Chopin's Minute Waltz & Fantasie-Impromptu, Scarlatti's Kk141 & Kk380, Schubert's D899/2, Ginastera's Argentinian Dances No.1 & 3, Albéniz's Asturias, Mozart's K545 - I, Paderewski's Minuet in G.......and those are just some of the short pieces that don't emote me. I just enjoy playing them.

The astute Sir Thomas hit the nail on the head when he proclaimed: 'The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes.'

Thanks for giving a clue, as the OP might be long gone already

I'm dumbfounded, playing piano just because it trickles your fingers shocked

Why not put your hands on the washing machine or so, it's much less tiring than trying to read all these notes and move your hands?

And then, since you stuck with piano rather than, say eating or watching movies, can I conclude that trickling your fingers is one of the more exciting/fulfilling activities that you could find ?


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Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
petebfrance #2987935 06/04/20 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
To those who don't feel 'emotions,' is there this sense of 'well-being,' 'fulfilment' or whatever or is there something else? It's (almost?) impossible to experience what other people experience, but it it is nice to get some understanding whenever possible - at least in my opinion. As people who love and appreciate music we should all have a lot in common, but it seems that our responses to it vary considerably. It's fascinating, really, and not something to argue about - more to get a deeper understanding of, because in my case at least, to put it bluntly, I'd like to get what the other guys are getting out of it too (or if I can't, at least to understand it)!
In case I've given the impression that I only have the emotional capacity of kæstur hákarl (so beloved by the Icelanders), I should add that there is some music that I play in which I feel emotionally involved, like Schumann's C major Fantasy, Brahms's Op.118, Mozart's K310, Beethoven's Appassionata, Ravel's Gaspard, Rachmaninov's Etudes-tableaux etc.

Though that's not because I feel that I need to feel it emotionally for my playing to 'connect' to my audience - projecting a specific emotion in the music to your audience and feeling it within yourself while playing are two entirely different things. Method actors might not believe that, but I always remember Sir Laurence Olivier's advice to Justin Hoffman: "My dear boy, why don't you just try acting?" smirk


"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 #2987941 06/04/20 05:14 PM
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One thing that hasn’t been addressed is the OP’s reaction to other genres of music. I, for one, find classical music to be deeply moving and so consuming of my attention, I can do little else but listen. OTOH rock, metal, emo and similar popular genres leave me clueless and wanting to cover my ears to escape what my brain perceives as torturous noise.

To the OP, do you find more emotional connection to other kinds of music?


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Deborah
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
bennevis #2987955 06/04/20 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by petebfrance
To those who don't feel 'emotions,' is there this sense of 'well-being,' 'fulfilment' or whatever or is there something else? It's (almost?) impossible to experience what other people experience, but it it is nice to get some understanding whenever possible - at least in my opinion. As people who love and appreciate music we should all have a lot in common, but it seems that our responses to it vary considerably. It's fascinating, really, and not something to argue about - more to get a deeper understanding of, because in my case at least, to put it bluntly, I'd like to get what the other guys are getting out of it too (or if I can't, at least to understand it)!
In case I've given the impression that I only have the emotional capacity of kæstur hákarl (so beloved by the Icelanders), I should add that there is some music that I play in which I feel emotionally involved, like Schumann's C major Fantasy, Brahms's Op.118, Mozart's K310, Beethoven's Appassionata, Ravel's Gaspard, Rachmaninov's Etudes-tableaux etc.

Though that's not because I feel that I need to feel it emotionally for my playing to 'connect' to my audience - projecting a specific emotion in the music to your audience and feeling it within yourself while playing are two entirely different things. Method actors might not believe that, but I always remember Sir Laurence Olivier's advice to Justin Hoffman: "My dear boy, why don't you just try acting?" smirk

Excellent selection, if I may say so. Yes there's some deeply emotional music there - some of which I haven't heard before, so more listening for me to do! As for playing them - er, perhaps some other time frown


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Pete
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
petebfrance #2987983 06/04/20 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by petebfrance
Now here's where things get tricky. To those who don't feel 'emotions,' is there this sense of 'well-being,' 'fulfilment' or whatever or is there something else?

Something very profound (sometimes). Some music has a kind of divine perfection that just gets me.

Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
johnstaf #2988074 06/05/20 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by petebfrance
Now here's where things get tricky. To those who don't feel 'emotions,' is there this sense of 'well-being,' 'fulfilment' or whatever or is there something else?

Something very profound (sometimes). Some music has a kind of divine perfection that just gets me.
Thank-you.


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Pete
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
IntermedPianist #2988076 06/05/20 05:39 AM
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Interesting about playing for others rather than for oneself. I've only ever consciously done that a few times (except for a few lessons as a child) and conveying the emotion felt very different from the usual experiencing it 'in a bubble' whilst playing; judging from their reaction, the listeners 'got it' and there was satisfaction in that, but it certainly detracted from the effect it had on me.


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Pete
Re: Emotional Response - Don't Have One?
bennevis #2988104 06/05/20 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Though that's not because I feel that I need to feel it emotionally for my playing to 'connect' to my audience - projecting a specific emotion in the music to your audience and feeling it within yourself while playing are two entirely different things.
I disagree with this completely.

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