Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A lilting air

You know the "lilting" air uses the rhythm of skipping, namely double dotted whole note followed by 16th note. It is considered to have the emotional affect of lightness and relaxed joy.
Do we need to experience skipping in order to find this rhythm happy and relaxed?  

I saw some stuff today on about people trying to uncover the quantitative underpinnings of emotional associations in music. Perhaps this is a valid endeavor but the cause-effect aspect of why some music has one or another emotional association [assuming there even is such a thing, outside of learning the associations from words and TV] seems to have little to do with its actual form. I mean suppose kids had two heavy steps, trudging forward, as an iconic expression of happiness. Would that not change the music's emotional impact?

On the other hand - since I am a liberal - maybe it is the other way around. We skip because that lilt is already in our soul.

I believe music has some absolute associations but am not clear what is absolute and what is relative. For example F# is (I believe) the resonant frequency of bone, and F is the resonant frequency of flesh. Music is correspondingly edgy or soothing. This is absolute. I used to think that the minor keys made my tear ducts vibrate - causing a faint sensation of sorrow. Perhaps that was wrong and it was the E-flat in the key of C-minor going even lower than the F. Or maybe it was the F in the key of D-minor. In any case, those were my speculations. Tempo also is clearly in direct relation with heartbeat and excitement level. But rhythms? I don't see how they could have any relation to emotion except by association.

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