Music and Emotion — A Composer's Perspective

Douek, J. (2013). Music and emotion—a composer's perspective. Front Syst Neurosci. 2013; 7: 82.

Abstract: This article takes an experiential and anecdotal look at the daily lives and work of film composers as creators of music. It endeavors to work backwards from what practitioners of the art and craft of music do instinctively or unconsciously, and try to shine a light on it as a conscious process. It examines the role of the film composer in his task to convey an often complex set of emotions, and communicate with an immediacy and universality that often sit outside of common language. Through the experiences of the author, as well as interviews with composer colleagues, this explores both concrete and abstract ways in which music can bring meaning and magic to words and images, and as an underscore to our daily lives.

Excerpt: Throughout evolution from the most primitive animal utterings, musical sounds have served our basic biology—attracting and securing a mate, deterring a predator or warning of danger. In more complex species they are a catalyst for bonding and social cohesion (2008). They can both affirm and set aside an animal's individuality. In humans it goes further, expressing shared tastes, moods and a deeper identification with each other and for oneself (Shepherd and Wicke, 1997). Yet at heart, music is an act of interplay. When looking at brain imaging studies (Levitin, 2006), it is not just the composer or improvisor's brain that demonstrates wide activity. The brain of a listener lights up like a Christmas tree, brimming with sympathetic and covert responses, digging into its own understandings and memories and experiences. Indeed as composers, we are not painting a full and complete picture for our listeners of what to feel, we are really just opening a window and pointing in a certain direction. Listeners find their own way there and maybe go way beyond, or somewhere else entirely. That is perhaps what makes music so exciting: we are all participants, we are co-creators of all of these musical emotional experiences. We are exploring a shared empathy...

Read the article: Douek, J. (2013). Music and emotion—a composer's perspective. Front Syst Neurosci. 2013; 7: 82.


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/alphaspirit.

(Something interesting I found)Posted:Nov 01 2013, 12:00 AM by brendah
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