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What effect does music have on you?

Jonners

Member
Messages
140
I'm pretty new here so please forgive what is likely to be a bit of a personal post. But it's perhaps because of that newness that it is easier to let it all hang out, to coin a rather 70s phrase. It's 5am and I have a fairly insistent need to write something so, in the hope that Kev will approve, here goes...

I have always loved music, without really knowing why. Perhaps something to do with listening to my dad belt out Rachmaninov on a beat up old piano which my mother later made him sell because we needed the space. Perhaps my absolute joy at hearing my first chords an a proper guitar which I got for my 11th b'day having previously made instruments out of cigar boxes and elastic bands. I well remember, again at age 11, bursting into uncontrollable sobs when I heard the Last Post on Remembrance day - just the purity of the notes touched something.

Later in life singing in male voice choirs there were some phrases that I just couldn't get out because they were so beautiful. Likewise in SATB just a single note like a top E I think (pretty high for a bass) on the 'Hosanna in Faure's Requiem standing next to my mate Chris- just reaches the parts that other notes can't reach - I just dissolve. Other notes have the same effect on my wife as well so I know it's not just me. How about the 'Amen' in the Messiah?

The great thing about this forum is that everybody loves music but I know this is a very personal and often poorly articulated emotion. This evening I had a new experience and feel so glad to have been there that I'm still buzzing several hours later. In fact I simply went to a gig in a small theatre in a small Irish town where I am staying temporarily. Perhaps it's something to do with the isolation of living alone and away from home but there are times I guess when we are all more receptive than others. Zoe Rahman was the pianist together with her brother on clarinet and just the best bass and drums. The Quakers have a phrase which talks about something which 'speaks to your condition' and that's what happened to me last evening. I can't explain it more clearly but I was taken to another place and the world just looked different as a result. And I guess the fact that I can't find the words demonstrates what we all know about music bypassing or rather transcending speech.

So, as they say, 'Thank you for the Music'

I apologise if this sounds rambly or self indulgent (I've not had a lot of sleep) but if you'd like to share your experiences maybe we can learn something.

All the best
Ian
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I'm pretty new here so please forgive what is likely to be a bit of a personal post. But it's perhaps because of that newness that it is easier to let it all hang out, to coin a rather 70s phrase. It's 5am and I have a fairly insistent need to write something so, in the hope that Kev will approve, here goes...
Ian, it's not just me, it's Pete primarily - and also other member's opinions. Apart from politics, sex and religion, pretty much any subject is acceptable in the breakfast room. But we tend to lean towards music and saxes/sax players.

I think this is likely to stimulate a lively discussion.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Ah, music. What is it to me?

In short, I don't think I could get through my life without it. Worries about elderly parents gradually falling apart? Listen to music and it feels a bit better. Hassles from the crap service which seems to be the norm? It evaporates with a bit of music. Work stress? Go and listen to the MP3 player in the corner, and it goes away. Knackered from a long, long day? A bit of music (raucous stuff for me) and I'm soothed into a calm place.

Jon
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Hi Jonners
I'm sure all on the forum feel the tingle factor with some music or other. It's so suprising when you find that people don't.
It's really disappointing when one listens to the choices of music on desert island discs to realise the person you have admired for years have absolutely no affinity for music. And no it's not the choice of opera or country and western that drives me to distraction,
it's the lack of response on a totally emotional level to music that I assumed everyone has.
I know Al Bowley or whoever may remind you of your Uncle Bert, but there should be one piece of music which you would choose to listen to when you turn your toes up!
I've got too many to list, but the ones that get me everytime are Coltrane's solo in "Blue in Green" and Wayne Shorter playing
"A Remark you Made" with Weather Report. Bliss. And "Nightingale" by Norah Jones (the guitar solo is so beautiful) and
Django Reinhardt playing "Nuages" and.... and.... and....
Hearts speaking to hearts is what my wife calls it.
 

les3716

Member
Messages
181
Ian, it's not just me, it's Pete primarily - and also other member's opinions. Apart from politics, sex and religion, pretty much any subject is acceptable in the breakfast room. But we tend to lean towards music and saxes/sax players.

I think this is likely to stimulate a lively discussion.
Hi Ian, I have to be carefull here, but music is a big part of my worship - I'll park that there.
The saxophone, gives me such a release and enables me to express myself musically, that I dont get with any other Instrument.

Jazz - Classical - Gosple, whatever musical environment I find mtself in, it has the effect of reaching into and touching your very soul.

My motto is - Keep music live.

Enjoy - Les.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Music does a lot to me. Anything from causing rage to bliss, irritation to contentment. I think I first really understood this at uni, when some music was able to relax me afte a really strenuous day in the lecture theatres. At school I'd been in a goup that only considered underground (remember the term) and hard rock acceptable. and this didn't do a lot to calm people.

I've seent he effect in my kids as well.

And on the worship side, I agree Les - it's in many ways the ultimate way of expressing one's feelings. How Great Thou Art is, for me, one of the most powerful songs of worship.

And it's not only worship that brings this emotion out in people's music - look at Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven, where he laments his lost son. Or Mendelsohnn's wedding march.... Or the negro spirituals. Or the requiems. Or, dare I say it, the myriads of love songs. Look at military music and the effect that had, lifting soldiers spirits, be it marching or going into battle. Or bringing solace in the aftermath of battle.

Well constructed music locks you into it, and your mood dictates what you can listen to at any time. But equally music can change mood, as you unwind after work, or are looking forward to a night out. Or just need to escape.

For me music has to have an emotional aspect, if it doesn't it doesn't work for me. It's no longe music, just sounds.
 

SaxyMalcolm

Member
Messages
77
In this scary world we live in music is the place where I can escape from the madness. The more I play the saxophone the more it is becoming part of me, my soul, my way of trying to express myself to others. Its like you become one organic entity where my voice is the sax.

Malcolm
 

Jonners

Member
Messages
140
Thanks for your inspiring thoughts all. I was very wistful - if that's the word - when I started this thread- and sharing this topic is very helpful.

I have stated elsewhere that I have seen a lot of death and dying in my work and amongst my friends recently. Music is part of my response to all this but I can't understand why - what is it that gets triggered or released? I love your wife's summing up Andrew - she must be a wise woman.

I totally agree about avoiding religion on this forum and will respect that totally but I do share feelings that others allude to of being in touch with something greater than myself through the vibrations that the little dots on the score initiate - how does that happen? I have read that every single note is represented on a specific part of our brain - true but wow!

I too am totally baffled by people who pass music by - especially when you see someone busking their heart out and people just walk on by without any recognition of what is going on.

I think we could have a whole thread about music you would like to be played when you curl your toes up. Personally I would include some of the stuff that I heard being played last night (do check out Zoe Rahman if you haven't heard her - better still go and see her) but I don't think many people would get it, so probably Faure's Pavane would be up there in the favourites. However I'm going to check out some of the other suggestions that have been made - YouTube here we come...

Ian
 

Filton

Member
Messages
243
I too am totally baffled by people who pass music by - especially when you see someone busking their heart out and people just walk on by without any recognition of what is going on.
I also find it difficult to understand how some people fail to be moved by music.

I often wonder though, do we listen to music in different ways? As a musician, do you hear the music and react to that sound alone, or are you listening to the music but with a deeper appreciation for the talent that lies beneath it and therefore perhaps form more of an emotional response to it in that way ?

I am sure that when I hear music that is performed with true emotion and ability, I cannot fail to form an instant appreciation for it even it is totally outside what I would consider to be my normal 'scope' of listening. However I also think that this helps you, as a musician, to have a much wider and more eclectic taste ?

My response to the question 'what kind of music do you like? Has, for as long as I can remember been - "whatever I happen to like when I hear it" - all those friends and acquaintances that are 'musos' can fully understand this statement but others tend to look blankly and can't grip the true meaning . . .
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Terrific thread.
It's not for everyone but I guess we can all on here identify with the effect of music in touching your soul, enlightenment, release of tension...
It was great to see Andrew mention Weather Report's A remark You made. I had only just heard that for the first time around the time my father died and it evokes for me alot about him. Similarly Kev, How Great Thou Art: I a not a regular church attender these days, but it is still a powerful piece of music.
Louis Armstong and Sidney Bechet still transport me back to my teens when I listened to them alongside the Beatles. These days, in late middle age(!) I still have worrries - sometimes about my own mortality as friends start to drop away. But music, jazz first then classical, lift me out of the depression as ever more so these days does playing. It's very important to me.
YC
 

Jonners

Member
Messages
140
Thanks for seeking out those refs Kev. Some are from well respected sources although I couldn't open the paeds one. However the classical forum article makes some interesting points, one of which:

Music affects different people in diverse manners: while Handel’s Water Music will totally displace a particularly cognizant musician’s thoughts, it might only be pleasant to someone else who isn’t a musician nor music enthusiast. An observing person is more keen to discern all the sensations that the composer (and orchestra/musician) transmits through his music, than an idle listener. The level of musicianship of the listener is crucial; so the same piece could appear absolutely different to two listeners, and this is how two opinions of a piece contradict their selves.

backs up what Fenton was saying and indeed probably explains my increasing response to improv as I learn the skill myself.

So far then we have a variety of factors including:

-Musical skill and or knowledge which allows deeper appreciation
-Association with poignant memories
- Biochemical responses to rhythm and melody (I haven't seen cadence mentioned anywhere yet but I believe this is very important, and what about that exquisite sensation we get with some dissonant notes - is that just learned?)

Lots of us talk about expressing ourselves through music and this is evident at a simple level eg by use of major and minor keys, fast and slow tempos etc but in my case I doubt very much whether my reaction/ response to, say the music that I heard last night, in any way mirrors that of the performer. Nor can I link any of it to experience as I'd never heard any of it before. Neither could I really tune into much melody - it was pretty avante garde and almost atonal (not quite true but you certainly couldn't hum along). The rhythms were stunningly effective and certainly pushed a few buttons but not at the level of mimicking a foetal heart beat or anything - maybe for someone in coronary care being shocked by a defibrillator but not yer average foetus.

Still - I understand a bit more than I did a while ago so thanks for contributions. Actually, in the end it's not so important to understand as it is to experience and just marvel at the magic.
Cheers
Ian
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
For me, understanding and experience enhance each other. Will try and find the paeds again, but the conclusion of that one was neutral in terms of music and endorphins.

edit - have just retried the paeds link and it worked for me. I've downloaded it. Can email the article if you pm me with an email address.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Music affects different people in diverse manners: while Handel’s Water Music will totally displace a particularly cognizant musician’s thoughts, it might only be pleasant to someone else who isn’t a musician nor music enthusiast. An observing person is more keen to discern all the sensations that the composer (and orchestra/musician) transmits through his music, than an idle listener. The level of musicianship of the listener is crucial; so the same piece could appear absolutely different to two listeners, and this is how two opinions of a piece contradict their selves.
Hmmm. This article seems to be saying that you can only appreciate all that a piuece of music has to give if you're a musician. I know quite a few non-musicians who would take issue with this.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
Music is very important to me on an emotional, sense of well being, relaxation and stimulation level. I just love everything I love listening to. Different music for different moods and I play tenor sax to relieve the end of a stressful day (and of course I play at other times :w00t: )
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
Very thought provoking thread. looking back I remember those punk days. ( i was not one myself but i certianly loved all the drama of it all ) Forward wind 30 odd years and look how i've changed, like everyone here i just love music but find myself being drawn to very ecclectic types of music. I certainly find myself being pulled to music i would never have listened to many years ago. Jazz being one of them. I did not start the tenor sax because of that, but since playing have been introduced by this forum and other friends to the many myriads of music out there.
I have had these last years quite a personal emotional time through my own and my partners ill health, as well as other issues and have found music to be a soother, it relaxes me but one thing is apparent that through sax playing i now really really listen to music, i try to understand it, it just seems to me that as it evolves so do i.
Thanks for the post Jonners
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
518
When I decided to learn sax and study music one thing I was a bit tentative about was the effect it would have on my ability to listen to music and enjoy it without thinking about it from a technical point of view. Once you learn that a piece of music which moves you only does so because of the composer using a particular major - minor key change (or whatever) then will it spoil the emotional effect? But in fact I have found that an understanding of music just opens up more mysteries - for instance why does lowering the third note of a scale by a semitone create a certain mood in a listener's brain? It may even be a universal characteristic of the brain - consider why the pentatonic scale is found in so many music cultures round the world.
 

Lerome

Member
Messages
33
Perception of music

I can see some merit in the statement: "An observing person is more keen to discern all the sensations that the composer (and orchestra/musician) transmits through his music, than an idle listener. The level of musicianship of the listener is crucial;....."

I would take, as a perhaps extreme example, Piano Sonata no 29 in B flat major - otherwise known as the Hammerklavier sonata - which, at some 40 minutes long, takes a great deal of concentration to listen to properly. And by properly, I mean in a way that the merits of the music are fully appreciated. On first listening there is very little emotion felt, but after 20, 30 or more times, the real beauty of the music becomes apparent. Having the score is a tremendous help, too, as is a musical ability. I suspect that few people who are not musicians will know the sonata since it is too long to be played in full (so radio programmes will not play it). And a single movement is out of place without its partner movements. (SKY Arts is our saviour here, with an eclectic mix of good music programmes always on offer.) The work is complex and rewards repeated listening with something new each time. If you don't know the work, please get to know it, bearing in mind that Beethoven was profoundly deaf when he wrote it.

If I wish to escape for an hour, this sonata is the one that takes me to a peaceful place. If only I could play it!

And to relax the mind while working at the PC, "Kind of Blue" does the trick.....:)
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
I guess that being a musician helps you to appreciate some forms of music but I'm not sure that it helps you to like stuff. I can appreciate Beethoven or Charlie Parker, for instance, but I would'nt choose either to listen to for enjoyment. I have played (and enjoyed playing) a lot of 'classical' music in the past but there is a very narrow range of 'classical' composers whose works I would gladly listen to. To my ears the years from 1700 to 1900 produced absolutely nothing of any interest. I know a lot of it is very worthy and well loved by some. But not by me - it bores me.

The sound of the music has a big influence on me - there are some singers and saxophonists who I just can't bear to listen to because of the sound they make, and an orchestra has to be doing something very interesting for it to move me because I find the sound fundamentally dull. I'm not hugely thrilled by the sound of a piano either - the only pianist that I really like is Esbjorn Svensson.
 
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