Response to Music Philosophy Debate #1

Michelle – hmm I have asked quite a few people how they can tell the difference between minor and major chords, and they usually raise their eyebrows if I say “sad” or “happy” so I feel like it’s a Westernized convention, but as blissinger said before, some cultures have extensive dissonance and like it very much.. and don’t find minor to be depressing at all.. I think it all depends on how you are exposed to music in the different contexts.. Western composers will always use minor keys for sad things like elegies and funeral marches, so I suppose people link sad feelings with them in time :P when I listen to Gregorian chants and other things in rather dissonant keys like Mixolydian and Dorian, it all sounds rather depressing to me but people back then found it very passionate and very.. ‘happy’ and ‘inspiring’ in an uplifting way.



Response to Music Philosophy Debate #1

blissinger – Maybe the brain is hardwired to respond one way to minor chords, another to major chords. But then how do we explain, for example, Chinese singing, which just sounds like a tortured cat to anyone whose brain isn’t adapted to it. So how much of our response is organic and how much is cultural?

Ermilia – I’ve never taken music theory, but my mom is a psychologist. She did some very interesting experiments about how music affects intelligence. She had rats run a maze and then listen to music, The classical rats made it through the maze faster, the country rats made it through a little slower. The rats without music got a little faster and the hard metal rats became violent, had to be separated, and tried to eat the maze. Needless to say I was only allowed to listen to classical growing up. -Eliabeth

Music Philosophy Debate #1

Topic of debate…

How does music affect the human soul in the way that it does?  Why should it be, that a tune in a major key ‘sounds’ happy, and one in minor ‘sounds’ sad?

I understand that in any given key there are both major and minor chords, and the modes that go with them, etc… That doesn’t quite answer my question.

I am talking grass roots, back to basics, music theory.

What is it that makes the intervals between notes ‘feel’ a certain way?

Try playing a chord for your friends and measure what feeling they would attach to it. We all know that a major chord would be happy, and a minor chord would be sad. But see what they think of the Major7s and minor7b5. If you don’t play an instrument, you can find them online.

Since getting into music theory I haven’t quite worked this one out yet…Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Philosophy 101

According to philosophy, each individual interacts with their own individual world. That is to say that, a person with colour-blindness sees a red ball as green. But in a room full of colour blind people, the ball is actually green.

This is the secret of the music industry and why they control what is perceived as “good music”.

I understand that the music industry survives on selling its music. I also understand that they are selling a package, the “artists” are a commodity and they have to make them appealing to as many people as possible. But, I believe that the general public need to hear good music. Original songs, with lyrics that make sense and Rhythm, Melody and Harmony.

People like Jamie Cullum and to a lesser extent Michael Buble have gone a long way toward changing the public psyche with regards to what is good, popular music, but they will never have the same kind of backing as the more edgy, dangerous and very unhealthy people they tend to highlight.Which is a shame, because they do use genuine musicians, they can perform  live and they have spent time learning their craft.

Don’t get me wrong, I have noticed a vast increase of new bands in other genres who are genuine musicians and who I am not including in this commentary. I am focusing on more on the Pop Genre.

At the end of the day, the music companies tell the public what is good music and what is not….. So if the people in music companies genuinely love music, why not steer them toward real artists who can at least play an instrument or sing the right note.