So, lately i've been piecing together bits of information and come to this realisation:

Quote by robbit10

Music only has the emotional effect on someone if they can associate with what the artist is saying or expressing.. Those things that make the most emotional impact on me, might have absolutely no impact on others.

Therefore, by writing music that strongly touches ME, those songs will in turn also touch others who have some or most of the same associations that I do. There is no scale or pattern that has a predetermined emotional effect on someone, it's all about what a person feels for, what they associate with, who they are.. that determines whether they get touched by your music or not. By writing music that touches me, it will also touch people like me..

Now, first off.. Am I right about this?
And secondly, how come instrumentals also have different effects on different people, how is it linked to the associations people have, since no words are spoken and no subject matter is discussed that could have anything to do with someone's life?
Last edited by robbit10 at Jan 23, 2013,
Music is such a powerful source, thats why it used every where you go, including on the media and when you go out shopping. It surprises me that such a thing can control and have an effect on someones life. To me i think music has changed my life!!!
I think you are bang on!! I think the feel of the music and the lyrics plays apart to someones life. The lyrics really give out emotion for the listener to feel and to relate to. Especially when the lyrics are influenced from the situations of your life. If you are feeling what you have created, then more than likely, the audience is gonna feel it.

For the second questions, it all depands on the instrunments and the articulation of the notes. For example, violins and flutes which are played at a slow tempo with longer notes and are using the minor scale, can really give out a sad impression. And soft synths arpeggios and major notes can really give out a happy impression. To me, its like a drawing book, the images you see and feel and written down to show the audience what you are feeling. Sometimes the lyrics doesnt have to be part of the emotion, you just gotta feel it while you are creating. For example, you cant really make a sad song while you are happy.
Hope this helps
Art is nothing without empathy.

That's why so much of what goes into story telling is getting the audience to connect with the characters in one way or another. You can't do that without empathy. Otherwise Cortana is just some AI, Frankenstein's monster is just a science experiment and Hamlet is just a crazy spoiled prince who talks a lot. The same goes with music.

Instrumental music is similar because just as there are tried and true techniques that help an audience connect with an author's character or message, the same applies to music. A french horn sounds noble, sustained notes at the higher range of violins will sound eerie, rhythmic flutes will sound jubilant, the list goes on. Yes, not everything will affect everyone the same, but there are trends and common ideas that a composer can exploit for emotional effect.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.

Last edited by rockingamer2 at Jan 23, 2013,
Quote by robbit10
Music only has the emotional effect on someone if they can associate with what the artist is saying or expressing.. Those things that make the most emotional impact on me, might have absolutely no impact on others.

I think it depends who you ask.

If you asked Stravinsky he would tell you that music is "powerless to express anything at all". But then that same composer wrote a piece of music that caused such intense emotions in the listeners it provoked a riot at its premiere.

Myself I would say music doesn't necessarily express emotions. Ligeti's "Poème symphonique", for example, doesn't really evoke any massive emotional response from me, but I think it's an interesting idea all the same
However when I do react emotionally to a piece that usually has to do with a number of factors ...

Shared musical language.
This has a curious modal (yes, modal) quality about it. It almost moves me but mostly it intrigues me because although the verse is clearly heartfelt it takes more of an intellectual effort for me to understand the emotions expressed in the music simply because the language that's being used to do that is 2000 years old. It's like reading the Epic of Gilgamesh where expressions of emotion are stylised in a manner we wouldn't tend to use now.

Emotional receptivity.
This has to do partly with my physical state, partly to do with set and setting (the people you're (not) with, the place you're in), partly to do with my emotional state, and partly to do with expectations. For example, if you were to play this when I've got a hangover I'd probably demand you stop. OTOH I listened to it by mistake while out running on my own in the woods at night and it shat me up so badly I ran the fastest 10K I'd ever run.

Extra-musical associations.
Memory, and its associations. For example, Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op 2, No. 1, Movement 2 reminds me of my brother playing the piano when I was younger and lived at home. It brings back those wonderful memories and makes me feel happy and loved because it reminds me of a time when I was truly content with the world. Listening to The Cure, OTOH reminds me of being a miserable teenager (which is why I don't listen to them much any more - too much bad blood, man).

Making an emotional impact on someone involves all three, and two out of the three are entirely beyond your control.

I certainly think you're correct in thinking that scales & patterns have no specific musical associations other than the associations we invest in them.
I also think that writing something that touches you may cause them to touch someone else.
But OTOH I think that writing/playing something you hate may have a positive emotional effect on someone else. Radiohead hated playing 'Creep', for example simply because they hated the fact that no-one knew any of their other songs. But it's that specific song that enabled them to break through and become more successful.

Music and emotion is a vexed subject and really the most you can do is to write the best piece you can given your abilities, resources, knowledge, &c. and not worry too much about whether it affects someone because that's mostly outside your control.
Quote by Hail
oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat