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Old 01-21-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
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What makes it "emotional"

What makes a piece of music emotional?

How is one piece of music more expressive than another?

The following standard answers are not acceptable:

*Slow tempo with the "perfect note choice"
-Describe the perfect note choice. Does it pertain to pitch, vibrato, dynamic level, color, etc? What if one of these elements changed slightly? Do your answers hold up for all types of music? What about atonal pieces? Are there certain gestures like suspensions that must be present?

* A virtuosic solo is not an emotional one because it is too "busy"
-Emotions are more accurately described given MORE information. Consider the difference between:

-Sadness one feels when he remembers the past
-Sadness one feels when he remembers the past and wishes he could change it
-Sadness one feels when he remembers the past and wishes he could change it because he lost something very dear and can never have it back

The assumption here is that words and pitches are both functioning in the same way. If you disagree with this assumption, explain why.

One possible explanation is that the listener, when given less information, fills in the remaining information with his own mind. Example: You hear a vague song about happiness after experiencing something happy, so you apply emotions you already have to the song. This process makes the listener part composer, as the work is now programmatic.

*Last, how do you think responses from western musicians will agree and disagree over these two questions? The implications from this answer can be very exciting.
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