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[cnfractal_music] Re: MP3 CDs, OC move, mags and emotions in music...

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  • shawnbulen@cs.com
    phil thompson wrote: A question... I m toying with the idea of mood functionality for GBX2, and have been asking myself the question: what makes a piece of
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 1, 1999
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      "phil thompson" wrote: A question... I'm toying with the idea of 'mood' functionality for GBX2, and have been asking myself the question: what makes a piece of music sad? What makes a piece of music happy?

      Excellent question!!! One I've wondered myself...

      I can only point you in various vague directions, nothing specific. And they all require you to do more research, sorry. But here goes...

      I've read of Bach's "the 48" in a few places. Bach 'invented' equal tempered scales, and the idea was bold at the time. When he did "the 48" (where he tried to do a prelude & fugue in 'every' scale), there was a fair amount of controversy. I remember that some reviews said that certain keys were not to be allowed for public performance - folks would be driven to drink or to despair if allowed to listen to these newly invented scales. Where I read this, I don't recall. I've spent some time looking at my resources to try and give you something specific, but couldn't find the exact source, sorry... But Bach's "48" attempted to do work in all important scales, and given the controversy at the time, I would do some research there.

      I also remember reading a Robert Fripp interview a few years back (in Musician magazine, if I remember properly) in which Robert Fripp discussed (with John McLaughlin, if I remember properly) the colors and moods various musical keys (scales) represented. I believe they focused on color, and only on mood as an afterthought, but looking for Fripp sources & Musician magazine might poke something up. I also thought I still had this mag about the house somewhere, tried to find it, and couldn't...

      Finally, my wacky mother (who fancies herself a country witch in her old age, reading up on new age & oriental philosophies) has given me a few books by a guy named Don Campbell, a new-ager who writes about the healing power of music. A long stretch, and I've scanned the books, unsuccessfully looking for specific references to scales, etc, but didn't find exactly what you were looking for, but if you are really serious about this, you may want to contact Campbell or review his work. He often writes about specific musical pieces that HEAL physical ailments, or that increase mental capability, etc.

      Finally, since I don't think there is any specific book that covers your request in an exhaustive fashion, I suggest tnat you build a survey. I would post the survey on this site (because there's a lot of great input here) and on your OC website (because you get a lot of visitors). I would ask specific questions like scales, modals, keys, tempos, ascending vs. descending lines etc. I would consider having example scales for a listener to hear before selecting his/her emotional response.

      A well written survey, to a well targeted audience, may yield incredibly consistent results. You might want to test-drive a survey here, because I think this egroup has sufficiently wacky, emotional, out of the box, creative and emotional folks to give you the top end of the bell curve response you just might want to work with...

      Again, sorry for the lack of specifics. I took so long to respond because I really thought I had more specific material at hand, & dug through my library to find it, but no luck...

      This info should really be out there!

      Good Luck!

      Shawn

    • Phil Jackson
      Hi, shawnbulen@cs.com wrote: phil thompson wrote: A question... I m toying with the idea of mood functionality for GBX2, and have been asking myself the
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 2, 1999
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        Hi,

        shawnbulen@... wrote:

        "phil thompson"  wrote: A question... I'm toying with the idea of 'mood' functionality for GBX2, and have been asking myself the question: what makes a piece of music sad? What makes a piece of music happy?
           Shawn said:   Excellent question!!! One I've wondered myself...

           Phil J. said:
           Indeed it is, and one perfectly suited as a problem in AI....perhaps even a "fuzzy logic" - type system....and a very subjective thing depending upon a variety of factors,
           culture, emotional state of the listener, etc. etc.....so perhaps the best we could say is
          a piece of music is percieved to be "happy" or "sad" in a very general way....

           Shawn said: I can only point you in various vague directions, nothing specific. And they all require you to do more research, sorry. But here goes... I've read of Bach's "the 48" in a few places. Bach 'invented' equal tempered scales, and the idea was bold at the time. When he did "the 48" (where he tried to do a prelude & fugue in 'every' scale), there was a fair amount of controversy. I remember that some reviews said that certain keys were not to be allowed for public performance - folks would be driven to drink or to despair if allowed to listen to these newly invented scales.

        Phil J. said:  I think someone may have said the same of Heavy Metal music.....but seriously, things such as discordance can be quite disturbing, even if it just percieved to
        be so by the listener...unfamiliar scales can bring about a feeling of uneasiness, I think...
         
           Shawn said:

        I also remember reading a Robert Fripp interview a few years back (in Musician magazine, if I remember properly) in which Robert Fripp discussed ...
           Phil J. said:   Some of Fripp's music sounds "fractal" even before such a thing was thought of...

            Shawn said:... a few books by a guy named Don Campbell, a new-ager who writes about the healing power of music....musical pieces that HEAL physical ailments, or that increase mental capability, etc. ...

           Phil J. said:  Phil T. may could comment on that respect that some have attributed to
          fractal music...  Also, some have said that listening to, say, Mozart was intellectually
          beneficial - perhaps it depends on what state of mind it puts the listener into...

          Shawn said: A well written survey, to a well targeted audience, may yield incredibly consistent results. You might want to test-drive a survey here, because I think this egroup has sufficiently wacky, emotional, out of the box, creative and emotional folks to give you the top end of the bell curve response you just might want to work with...

        Phil J. said: Ha!  Which category do I fit in?  Good idea, anyway!

        Phil
         

        Again, sorry for the lack of specifics. I took so long to respond because I really thought I had more specific material at hand, & dug through my library to find it, but no luck...

        This info should really be out there!

        Good Luck!

        Shawn 


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      • raywat@ix.netcom.com
        ... music ... Shawn, I enjoyed the Bach 48 topic. It s funny how things we take for granted today were once disputed for their validity in the past. Along
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 2, 1999
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          >shawnbule-@... wrote


          >>"phil thompson" wrote:
          >>A question... I'm toying with the idea of 'mood' functionality for
          >>GBX2,and have been asking myself the question: what makes a piece of
          music
          >>sad? What makes a piece of music happy?

          >Excellent question!!! One I've wondered myself...

          >I can only point you in various vague directions, nothing specific.

          >Shawn

          Shawn,

          I enjoyed the "Bach 48" topic. It's funny how things we take for
          granted today were once disputed for their validity in the past.

          Along the subject of what makes music sad/happy etc., I once saw a
          great Discovery Channel documentary of anthropologists who visited
          various world cultures to investigate if sadness/happiness was
          culturally based or human based. The results were amazing. They found
          that we all are triggered by similar mechanisms for sad/happy cues. It
          even extends to animals.

          For example, sadness due to death of a loved one invoked long drawn
          out groans. They even showed an elephant morning the death of a close
          loved one and the elephant used its trunk to make deep, slow, low
          pitched moaning sounds!

          When the anthropologists sought out happiness, they found
          commonalities with faster rhythms, higher pitches that are in contrast
          to the moaning and on the opposite end of the spectrum. You could even
          think about the dog that yelps at quick higher pitches when it is at
          play but then reverts to low long growls when it feels threatened.

          It seems these basic animalistic moods are translated into music by
          humans in an attempt to communicate emotion.

          In contrast, one area where the communication of emotion is not
          global but localized to culture is the subject of minor keys. To most
          americans, music in minor keys convey automatic and absolute sadness
          while in some cultures, music in minor keys convey happiness and
          excitement. I have worked with minor key music so frequently that it
          does not convey instant sadness to me. Instead I feel introspective,
          not necesarily happy or sad.

          If one wanted to arrange components in relation to emoition, it
          seems that it is possible by thinking of slow, low pitched, drones as
          sad in contrast to rhythmic higher pitches that seem to happily dance
          along.

          This is a very subjective topic. Another more objective approach
          would be to compose a rich diversity of music and note how each piece
          affects our emotions. Then use those pieces as rulers to measure the
          shades of emotions possible from one extreme to another. Most of what
          we do will be localized within each of our immediate cultures and
          exaggerated into false absoluteness. Its hard to escape the
          absoluteness of a cultural center. Somehow I enjoy being the rebel by
          testing the boundaries localized cultural absolutes.

          This is a very question question that I think deserves further
          investigation.

          -Ray
        • Phil Thompson
          Hi folks, I m a tad behind with responding to comments... had lots of ideas re: recent postings but had a busy few days so need to catch up a little... had
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 2, 1999
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            Hi folks,

            I'm a tad behind with responding to comments... had lots of ideas re: recent
            postings but had a busy few days so need to catch up a little... had some
            personal mails recently from some recently - will respond to them as soon as
            I can.

            "phil thompson" wrote: A question... I'm toying with the idea of 'mood'
            functionality for GBX2, and have been asking myself the question: what makes
            a piece of music sad? What makes a piece of music happy?

            Further to my recent question I found quite an interesting book on the
            subject. (Which I've just managed to kick a coffee cup all over). It's
            called 'Emotion and Meaning in Music' by Leonard B. Meyer. It's a
            discussion rather than a 'tutorial' style book but covers all sorts of
            things like emotional states, culture etc. that Phil J. talks of.

            Shawn's remarks also reminded me of reading once that a certain chord was
            banned from Christian music as it was believed it summoned the devil. I
            can't remember which it was, but I'd guess Marilyn Manson uses it an awful
            lot :-)

            Shawn said:... a few books by a guy named Don Campbell, a new-ager who
            writes about the healing power of music....musical pieces that HEAL physical
            ailments, or that increase mental capability, etc. ...

            Phil J. said: Phil T. may could comment on that respect that some have
            attributed to fractal music...

            Yes there have been claims made that some of my stuff helps with autism in
            children, emotional distress in adults etc. I'm very flattered but I don't
            make such 'claims' as there have been no studies or so on. I don't want to
            be regarded as part of some "New Age Healing Product" drive if it's just
            coincidental. But many have claimed that a lot of this music can help
            health-wise. I'm totally out of my depth on that one to comment though
            really... other than saying it's of course it's a very nice thought that
            something I've done *might* make such a difference...

            Shawn said: You might want to test-drive a survey here, because I think this
            egroup has sufficiently wacky, emotional, out of the box, creative and
            emotional folks to give you the top end of the bell curve response you just
            might want to work with...

            *Laughing out loud*. After exchanging Emails for over a year with Phil J. I
            think he'll testify there's nobody out there more wacky, out of the box,
            creative and emotional than I. Guilty on all counts. But that should
            probably be left to a forum other than this one. Or perhaps a psychiatric
            ward ha ha ha.

            Phil J. said: Ha! Which category do I fit in? Good idea, anyway!

            Phil T. says:

            Maybe we could have a survey:

            Which category do you fit in?
            * wacky
            * out of the box
            * creative
            * emotional
            * all of the above.

            Click HERE to vote etc.

            :o)



            See you in the funny papers,

            Phil :-P
            (Thompson)
            http://www.organised-chaos.com
          • Casey Van Tieghem
            Once when I was experimenting with number generating for a Musical Generator, I made this one really really sad tune. I think I learned something from this.
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 2, 1999
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              Once when I was experimenting with number generating for a Musical
              Generator, I made
              this one really really sad tune.

              I think I learned something from this. Even the saddest tunes if they are
              good usually have some glint of
              hope, almost teasing at being a happy tune. A perfect example is blues
              which can
              make you happy in a soulful way, like a song about being alone makes you
              feel not so alone, because
              someone has experienced that and is expressing that emotion for you.

              This tune I made simply called sad.mid didn't show any hope, and was just
              the most
              pathetic thing I've ever heard, it didn't end it didn't progress, it just
              dragged along.
              It was in a minor scale.
              I suppose if I sped it up and use Vibraphone instead of chellos and violins
              it would
              sound not as sad.

              I have no idea why the minor scale can be sad like that. It's like why is
              sour sour? Why is sweet
              sweet? Maybe the minor scale is sour to the ear.

              The irony of all this is that people say that a machine is not able to
              express emotion like
              a human can - therefore can't compose. But much of the emotion is just in
              scales, tempo,
              patches and things a computer can emulate.

              >>Excellent question!!! One I've wondered myself...
            • Casey Van Tieghem
              ... That reminds me of something I read in a naughty magazine when I was a teen. (Yeah, I actually read something from there - but learned more about Human
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 2, 1999
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                >Shawn's remarks also reminded me of reading once that a certain chord was
                >banned from Christian music as it was believed it summoned the devil. I
                >can't remember which it was, but I'd guess Marilyn Manson uses it an awful
                >lot :-)

                That reminds me of something I read in a naughty magazine when I was a teen.
                (Yeah, I actually read something from there - but learned more about Human
                anatomy
                than music probably from those magazines. ).

                It said Blues was Satan's choice of music. I bought it. But now I wonder
                about that. I think Blues is related to Gospel isn't it. That's why they
                sing "Lord knows..."
                all the time in Blues songs. So whoever said that I disagree.

                But whoever thought about putting minor chords in a blues rock tune was on
                to something.
                (Probably Jimi Hendrix).

                >Which category do you fit in?
                >* all of the above.
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