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#1
This is a thread for the intelligent discussion of all aspects of emotion, from what invokes it to what it can be useful for.

NOTE : If your only post is going to be "it's subjective" than don't post, I don't care.

I'll start. What musical practices do you believe illicit a strong emotional response in the listener, such as bends or trills or whatever?
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#2
Quote by The_Sophist
This is a thread for the intelligent discussion of all aspects of emotion, from what invokes it to what it can be useful for.

NOTE : If your only post is going to be "it's subjective" than don't post, I don't care.

I'll start. What musical practices do you believe illicit a strong emotional response in the listener, such as bends or trills or whatever?



I believe the artists expression is much more responsible for eliciting emotion in the listeners, then the particular techniques used to express it.
shred is gaudy music
#3
But they have to be doing something differently than other people would be covering the song would, so what is it that they are doing?
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#4
Quote by The_Sophist
But they have to be doing something differently than other people would be covering the song would, so what is it that they are doing?


not everyone plays the guitar the same way as everyone else.
#5
Quote by pepsi1187
not everyone plays the guitar the same way as everyone else.


I know, but I'm asking WHAT the differences are, not if there are any.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#6
Emotion in music (as perceived by me) generally boils down to lyrics (in vocal-based music), dynamics, and phrasing.
#7
when playing leads, i think emotion is best portrayed and expressed throughout the entire solo by phrasing and building up to 5ths and octaves of the key (if that makes any sense). you have to look long term and really make all the notes count.
Rig:
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effects loop:
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my shit screams.
#8
I typically find that its different to put emotion into anything other than vocals. And for vocals its mainly down to the same sorts of things that give emotion in speech.
#9
Quote by isaac_bandits
I typically find that its different to put emotion into anything other than vocals.

Have you heard Andy Timmons?

Quote by The_Sophist
What musical practices do you believe illicit a strong emotional response in the listener, such as bends or trills or whatever?

Spacing, bends, stops, and definitely good build-up.
#10
Emotion is possibly the easiest factor in a musical piece to understand, but the hardest to quantify in concrete terms.

For me, emotion is all in the subtleties, the bits that you can't just transcribe to sheet music. Emotion is an factor one must take into account when composing any unified piece of music, but it cannot be pigeonholed into any one superfluous ornament or articulation. Emotion is the force behind any truly great piece of music, and is exceedingly difficult to fake.

In short, I define emotion as the beautiful human "imperfections" of music. Music is not rhythm, it is not harmony, it is not melody. The base underpinning behind all varieties of music is raw, human emotion, and we stack these theoretical constructs upon our feelings to tame them in an attempt to make them feel more civilized. Emotion is a scream, or a laugh, or an orgasm. Music is filtered emotion, rendered in the form of sound.
Quote by brownsfan456
Anything is possible with music which is sooo awesome


Quote by metal4all

I just learn the formula, apply it to a key, and use said notes on fretboard. Why? Cuz I'm not a pussy.
#11
Quote by KenjiBeast
Emotion is a scream, or a laugh, or an orgasm.


I'm pretty sure the emotions happen after the orgasm.

Which is kind of the problem.


I'm not going to offer anything positive, just going to dispute the equation of human "imperfections" with the emotion in a piece - I get the same feelings off 'Genesis' by the Problemaddicts (which has programmed drums and possibly a programmed bass/synth) as I do off "Eclipse" by Pink Floyd (which has instruments played by humans).
Quote by Ed O'Brien
“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”

http://urbanscarecrow.bandcamp.com/
#12
Quote by Damascus
I'm pretty sure the emotions happen after the orgasm.

Which is kind of the problem.


I'm not going to offer anything positive, just going to dispute the equation of human "imperfections" with the emotion in a piece - I get the same feelings off 'Genesis' by the Problemaddicts (which has programmed drums and possibly a programmed bass/synth) as I do off "Eclipse" by Pink Floyd (which has instruments played by humans).


Sequenced or live performance has literally nothing to do with the emotions a piece can evoke, it's a superfluous thing that a lot of folks like to pretend is somehow incredibly important to the fundamental structure of a musical piece, but is in reality an inane distinction that only serves to drive a wedge between musicians.

By "imperfection", I don't merely mean the inherent imperfection of live performance but I mean the basic imperfection of music as a concept. Music, no matter how complex, will never be able to perfectly convey emotion. Depending upon context, composition and structure, a musical piece will always convey an emotion at the very least slightly different than what the original composer intended, and depending upon the listener, the interpretation can vary wildly.

That said, this "imperfection" of translation/transmission from composer to listener is what allows music to transcend reality and become art. That is to say "ART" is defined by how it differs from what is "REAL". "MUSIC" is simply "ART" for the ears.
Quote by brownsfan456
Anything is possible with music which is sooo awesome


Quote by metal4all

I just learn the formula, apply it to a key, and use said notes on fretboard. Why? Cuz I'm not a pussy.
#14
I once had a huge post in a topic like this but let me see if I can bring back some ofthe stuff I wrote back then.

Since music is sound, it contains no emotion. However, since we perceive sound we will also interpret sound. (Sound does not actually reach your, brain, a mental representation will, which is an encoded version of sound, which you need to decode back.)

This results in adding an opinion or emotion to music based on past memories. So therefor emotion in music is subjective. However it also means emotion can be emulated.

I'm unable to give an absolute answer of what the ones that do so succesfully, do different than those who don't. Everything you use to emulate emotion, for example, Rhythm, Melody, Timbre, and Phrasing and other parts of music, is interpreted differently by other people.

After removing all the detail from it you'll mostly remain with one single generic emotion, like sad, happy, or anger. So there will be a commonly shared emotion in the audience, but everyone feels it a little different.

Sometimes a sad song, can be interpreted as mere sorrow, or sometimes as hope. Just to point out the difference.

Anyway, my two cents on the matter.
#15
Quote by isaac_bandits
I typically find that its different to put emotion into anything other than vocals. And for vocals its mainly down to the same sorts of things that give emotion in speech.


Thus - the best way to evoke emotions in a listener is to mimic speech/vocal patterns....

One of the best ways to make listeners feel a certain emotion, is to feel it yourself while you're playing (or composing). It should show in your phrasing and note choice.....unless you're "playing by the numbers" that is.

You know - if you want to sound happy, imagine you're skipping through a meadow full of flowers, nude women and beer. Your "happy place", if you will...

If you want to sound sad, imagine you're pulling yourself through a city gutter in the rain, crying because your mom and your dog both died in the same car wreck (in your new car).......and during the same accident, a bus full of orphans got stuck on the tracks in front of a train full of beer - killing all the orphans and spilling all the beer....

And, of course, when playing live - facial expressions and body language are key.
Gear

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#16
If you can express an emotion while playing better by feeling it yourself, than that proves that emotion in music is not totally subjective doesn't it.

I agree that music is not totally subjective. I doubt I'll ever meet anyone that feels more emotion from elevator music than from say a blues or jazz guy, but I might be wrong.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#17
I think there is truth in most of what has been said.

Some of the pieces of music that affect me the most are those that have a buildup of tension and then a massive release (yeah I know what that sounds like....). Don't bash me for my choice of example here but "My Apocalypse" by Escape The Fate has an incredible buildup. It starts with a slow chord progression and single notes over whole bars being vibrato'd slightly. Then this really really slow tapping starts for a few bars. The speed of the tapping is then doubled and you can just feel the anticipation rising. The tapping then stops for a moment with a note that seems to hold you on the edge of a cliff. Then the tapping goes into warp speed and the chords are replaced by power chords. The fast part feels like you are falling through thin air....

Its about those momentary pauses, the change of the speed of playing and the emphasis on certain notes and the slight under-emphasis of others. Its about holding onto a note slightly longer than expected. This is obviously totally subjective but I do suspect that this is the nature this discussion
#18
Quote by The_Sophist
I agree that music is not totally subjective. I doubt I'll ever meet anyone that feels more emotion from elevator music than from say a blues or jazz guy, but I might be wrong.

There are people who get more emotional from elevator music than from i.e. giant steps. There are also people who do not like guitars, and simply hide in disgust when someone so much as touches a string, let alone bend it.
There are also people who get emotional from a more rythmic aproach to vocals, whereas others might get all gooey over the walküre.
At metal concerts, the audience(if consisting mainly out of metalheads) just goes wild, that's a way of expressing emotion. But if you'd put only soul-music lovers in that room, they'd probably leave out of boredom(or sheer pain in their ears, as they weren't prepared for teh br00talz!).
Me, I always fill up at a certain point during a buckethead solo on a c2b3 song, while, without exception, anyone else I had listen to that song, didn't feel a thing.

So yeah, emotion in music is totally subjective. Period.
#19
Heh.... I thought this would have gone much more badly much more quickly.

Interesting question, if people can stay on topic and address it, as they are doing.

I think emotion is conveyed partly by the musical elements inherent in the composition - tempo, dissonance/resolution, tonality, choice of scale, etc. Beyond that, I don't think it is as much about the notes themselves, but about how the notes are started and stopped.

Staccato, for instance pretty much always sounds happy.

Sad.... legato. You want more miserable.... leave the attacks and decays of the notes a little more ragged or unrefined or unpolished. Make them a little more out of tune.

You want majestic? Swell the notes as you begin the attack.

That kind of thing.


CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#20
Quote by The_Sophist
I agree that music is not totally subjective. I doubt I'll ever meet anyone that feels more emotion from elevator music than from say a blues or jazz guy, but I might be wrong.


I've never found blues to contain any emotion.

Alot of time the 'emotion' seems to come from the interaction of the melody and harmony along with the shape of the melody.
#21
I think more than anything, having an emotion and hearing what your playing is what gives music emotion. If you live the music you are playing, then the "emotion" will come 100% naturally. After all, the idea of music is programmed into our minds. If you unlock that part of your brain, music becomes as natural and easy as speaking
#22
Quote by isaac_bandits
I've never found blues to contain any emotion.

Alot of time the 'emotion' seems to come from the interaction of the melody and harmony along with the shape of the melody.


Wow, I'm sorry to hear that.

Well, You know what Albert King says...
"if you don't love the blues, you got a hole in your soul".




regarding where emotion comes from....

it comes from the artist, not from any particular technique or musical device.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 9, 2009,
#23
One thing I think that can be important is spacing between notes. Try playing the melody to Amazing Grace perfectly in time with a metronome at one set tempo - it sounds kind of robotic. Next try playing it at a looser tempo without a metronome and leave deliberate space between the notes/phrases. It sounds a lot more "soulful". The space creates tension/suspense and that makes it sound more emotional.

I learned that from Victor Wooten, and besides being a silly bass player and a little out there on some stuff, I agree with him on this point.
#24
Quote by wesselbindt
There are people who get more emotional from elevator music than from i.e. giant steps. There are also people who do not like guitars, and simply hide in disgust when someone so much as touches a string, let alone bend it.
There are also people who get emotional from a more rythmic aproach to vocals, whereas others might get all gooey over the walküre.
At metal concerts, the audience(if consisting mainly out of metalheads) just goes wild, that's a way of expressing emotion. But if you'd put only soul-music lovers in that room, they'd probably leave out of boredom(or sheer pain in their ears, as they weren't prepared for teh br00talz!).
Me, I always fill up at a certain point during a buckethead solo on a c2b3 song, while, without exception, anyone else I had listen to that song, didn't feel a thing.

So yeah, emotion in music is totally subjective. Period.


Okay...so let's say that the emotional response of the listener is subjective. I agree with that. Different people can obviously have vastly different reactions to the same piece of music - and the composer has little control over that. And, of course, some people are completely unaffected by music.

But - I don't think the emotion being expressed by the music is subjective....

You can tell how a composer feels/felt while playing/writing a song based on how the song sounds (assuming they're trying to convey that emotion). Just like you can tell what kind of mood someone is in based on their speech patterns and tone of voice.....assuming you have a normal ability to empathize.

Not many people would think that Beethoven was happy when he wrote the Moonlight Sonata.

Of course there will always be people who are completely clueless about what other people are feeling.
Gear

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
#25
Quote by Guitartist
Okay...so let's say that the emotional response of the listener is subjective. I agree with that. Different people can obviously have vastly different reactions to the same piece of music - and the composer has little control over that. And, of course, some people are completely unaffected by music.

But - I don't think the emotion being expressed by the music is subjective....

You can tell how a composer feels/felt while playing/writing a song based on how the song sounds (assuming they're trying to convey that emotion). Just like you can tell what kind of mood someone is in based on their speech patterns and tone of voice.....assuming you have a normal ability to empathize.

Not many people would think that Beethoven was happy when he wrote the Moonlight Sonata.

Of course there will always be people who are completely clueless about what other people are feeling.

We only think we can hear what the composer felt when he composed the song, because we were conditioned to hear the major scale as a happy one(that's just a minor example, we were also conditioned to feel sad because of certain rhythms, etc.). Eastern music, for example, isn't composed by western standards, and therefore it's a lot harder, if not impossible. This also goes for speech patterns et cetera, it's all based on the culture you were born and raised in, and they vary greatly. Also, music doesn't express emotion, composers try to do so through their music. And of course that can be interpreted differently by people.
On the moonlight sonata remark, listen to the second movement.
(I know you were talking about the third, and I get what you're saying, but it's good, isn't it?)

EDIT:
My apologies for the chaotic layout of my post, I'm not that good at writing. Your layout is quite nice to read, kudos!
Last edited by wesselbindt at Nov 9, 2009,
#26
Quote by The_Sophist
But they have to be doing something differently than other people would be covering the song would, so what is it that they are doing?


It has a lot to do with timing. When you have no technical barriers to play the piece you can concentrate fully on timing and tone
Quote by razorback91
Im sorry, I just don't see how you could argue that hardcore isn't metal. That just seems arrogant to me.

Yes, its its own kind of metal, but its still metal.
#27
TBH, in music with vocals, alot of the emotion is conveyed through them. But if the instrumentalists are playing something "sad" then they can make the vocals seem even more sad.

Also, alot has to do with buildup and whats come before, now, I know alot of people here don't like metal, but you should all listen to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2hW3fbJ-qE.

Now, I personally feel the outro is easily one of the most beautiful things ever heard in a rock/metal setting. And I feel the rest of the song builds up to it very well, and gives it some of the emotional power it has.
#28
Quote by GuitarMunky
Wow, I'm sorry to hear that.

Well, You know what Albert King says...
"if you don't love the blues, you got a hole in your soul".




regarding where emotion comes from....

it comes from the artist, not from any particular technique or musical device.

I was going to use the exact same quote

how can you not feel the blues?!
#29
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
I was going to use the exact same quote

how can you not feel the blues?!


I can feel it, however i find other stuff much more expressive, and tbh i find most blues music bland and repetitive. I don't consider jamming over a 12 bar a song.
#30
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
I was going to use the exact same quote

how can you not feel the blues?!


Overused progressions, the same licks all over the place. Bending from ♭3 to ♮3, ♭5 as a passing tone, sloppy rhythms, often out of tune vocals. The only thing that I ever find as emotional in blues is some of the lyrics, but lyrics are poetry and not music.

I'll take well played (read: in tune and in time) music, with interesting harmonies and melodies to blues any day. The blues is so unmemorable and so unemotional to me.
#31
Quote by isaac_bandits
Overused progressions, the same licks all over the place. Bending from ♭3 to ♮3, ♭5 as a passing tone, sloppy rhythms, often out of tune vocals. The only thing that I ever find as emotional in blues is some of the lyrics, but lyrics are poetry and not music.

I'll take well played (read: in tune and in time) music, with interesting harmonies and melodies to blues any day. The blues is so unmemorable and so unemotional to me.


What an elitist and ignorant point of view. I mean we all have our tastes, but to justify it that way.... that's a shame IMO.

I'll say the same for this...

Quote by griffRG7321
I can feel it, however i find other stuff much more expressive, and tbh i find most blues music bland and repetitive. I don't consider jamming over a 12 bar a song.



Elitism only limits yourself.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 9, 2009,
#32
Quote by GuitarMunky
What an elitist and ignorant point of view. I mean we all have our tastes, but to justify it that way.... that's a shame IMO.

I'll say the same for this...


Elitism only limits yourself.


That's elitism? I don't mean to say that they aren't necessarily good. I know alot of that stuff is done on purpose. I just don't find it emotional. I can find a i - iv - v progression very powerful and emotional, even though its simple. It all depends on how its played. To be honest, I don't like most guitar solos.
#33
Quote by isaac_bandits
That's elitism? I don't mean to say that they aren't necessarily good. I know alot of that stuff is done on purpose. I just don't find it emotional. I can find a i - iv - v progression very powerful and emotional, even though its simple. It all depends on how its played. To be honest, I don't like most guitar solos.


The way you put it.... yeah, I would consider that elitism. You're writing off an entire genre based on generalizations. You made it sound like there is absolutely no originality in terms of licks, all rhythm guitar parts are played sloppily, and all vocals are sung out of tune.
I've got plenty of examples of blues music that go against your generalizations.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 9, 2009,
#34
Quote by GuitarMunky
The way you put it.... yeah, I would consider that elitism. You're writing off an entire genre based on generalizations. You made it sound like there is absolutely no originality in terms of licks, all rhythm guitar parts are played sloppily, and all vocals are sung out of tune.
I've got plenty of examples of blues music that go against your generalizations.


I said "often out of tune vocals". I know that there are blues singers who sing in tune, but I also know that there are some that sing out of tune on purpose. There of course has to be some people with original licks, but for the most part, blues soloists use a "bag of licks" and play them in different orders for different solos. That's not to say that there aren't blues guitarists that are playing interesting solos, but there's alot that isn't. I never said anything about rhythm guitarists aside from their progressions, so I'm not sure why you thought that I said they play sloppily . Sorry if I don't like most blues, but I'm up for listening to some, if you have some that you would say is good. All the stuff I've heard wasn't stuff I liked, but feel free to recommend some stuff, as I certainly haven't heard it all.
#35
Quote by isaac_bandits
I said "often out of tune vocals". I know that there are blues singers who sing in tune, but I also know that there are some that sing out of tune on purpose. There of course has to be some people with original licks, but for the most part, blues soloists use a "bag of licks" and play them in different orders for different solos. That's not to say that there aren't blues guitarists that are playing interesting solos, but there's alot that isn't. I never said anything about rhythm guitarists aside from their progressions, so I'm not sure why you thought that I said they play sloppily . Sorry if I don't like most blues, but I'm up for listening to some, if you have some that you would say is good. All the stuff I've heard wasn't stuff I liked, but feel free to recommend some stuff, as I certainly haven't heard it all.


Your description of the blues:

"Overused progressions, the same licks all over the place. Bending from ♭3 to ♮3, ♭5 as a passing tone, sloppy rhythms, often out of tune vocals"

* Often out of tune implying.... USUALLY out of tune, otherwise you wouldnt use it as a reason for not liking the genre.

Anyway, I don't care if you like it or not, we all have our tastes. I just think you do yourself (and those that would read your post) a disservice by generalizing and writing off an entire genre.

I'm not going to try and convince you to like it or make any suggestions because if you ever do appreciate blues, it's something you need to discover on your own, for yourself.
I only object to the spreading of the disease (elitism).
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 9, 2009,
#36
Quote by The_Sophist
This is a thread for the intelligent discussion of all aspects of emotion, from what invokes it to what it can be useful for.

NOTE : If your only post is going to be "it's subjective" than don't post, I don't care.

I'll start. What musical practices do you believe illicit a strong emotional response in the listener, such as bends or trills or whatever?

well, it is subjective. what one may feel brings a strong emotional response may not bring one to another. for example, i find lots of folk songs repetitive and boring and i love blues. my friend loves folk and finds blues repetitive and boring. you can do all you want to try and get your emotions accross in your music but whether or not the listener gets it isnt up to you.

but in general, people tend to like songs that switch from major to minor. lots of popular songs do this. either they start in a major key and then maybe the chorus goes to the relative minor or even a different minor key. i wouldnt say this brings an emotional response, but people tend to like it. also wide intervals tend to sound more melodic. that is, playing intervals larger than a 2nd. i think thats why people tend to find blues based playing more "emotional" or melodic. the pentatonic scale takes away 2 notes from the diatonic scale and makes the intervals wider.
#37
how can you not feel the blues?!


Most of it bores the living shit out of me. I like a lot of blues influenced stuff - but not what most people would call the blues.

What musical practices do you believe illicit a strong emotional response in the listener, such as bends or trills or whatever?


After "it's subjective" - context, contrast and familiarity.

No musical device exists in a vacuum - the closest to it is existing in silence, which is a whole nother thing.
#38
Quote by GuitarMunky
Your description of the blues:

"Overused progressions, the same licks all over the place. Bending from ♭3 to ♮3, ♭5 as a passing tone, sloppy rhythms, often out of tune vocals"

* Often out of tune implying.... USUALLY out of tune, otherwise you wouldnt use it as a reason for not liking the genre.

Anyway, I don't care if you like it or not, we all have our tastes. I just think you do yourself (and those that would read your post) a disservice by generalizing and writing off an entire genre.

I'm not going to try and convince you to like it or make any suggestions because if you ever do appreciate blues, it's something you need to discover on your own, for yourself.
I only object to the spreading of the disease (elitism).


Sloppy rhythms refers to the lead guitarists rhythm (as when people try to play 32nd notes, and can't and then try to squeeze them in, and the subdivisions aren't accurate). The actual rhythm guitarists typically play slow enough that their rhythms aren't sloppy.

I also never "wrote it off", all I said was that I didn't find it to contain any emotion, and then listed some reasons why I felt that. Then you falsely extrapolated that I was writing the genre off. Hell, I even asked for recommendations of blues that I might like, and you refused to give it to me. It's hard to find on my own when I search for "good blues" or something along those lines, and I get hundreds of people telling me to listen to Clapton, or SRV, or Muddy Waters, or Robert Johnson, or BB King, etc...

It seems kind of silly for you to go on and on about "elitism", when I've never even said I think X genre is better than blues, or that blues is no good. I just don't like what I've heard from it, and when people try to defend it, but refuse to recommend some artists to check out, it kind of turns me off.
#39
Quote by isaac_bandits


It seems kind of silly for you to go on and on about "elitism".



I think it's silly to look down your nose at an entire genre.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Nov 9, 2009,
#40
Quote by GuitarMunky
I think it's silly to look down your nose at an entire genre.


I never said I did. All I said was I don't hear any emotion in it...
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