Saturday, October 1, 2011

value of emotion

     Zangwill stated that music does not possess emotion; that we are not hearing emotion when we listen to music, but that it is we alone who are bringing the emotion.  I get what he's saying, that music cannot be emotional in and of itself, I guess I just don't think it's that simple.  Music is created by human beings, and as much as it makes us feel something when we hear it (whether real emotion or not,) it makes us feel something when we create it, as well.  What the composer is feeling when he is composing music is relevant, and intertwined in that music in some way.  Furthermore, if we feel sad listening to something, it is very likely that our feeling that way is exactly what the composer intended, and the same for any other feeling we get from any music.  The composer arranged the music the way he did to convey emotion.
     Certainly, we can feel a way not intended by the composer when listening to something, too.  And certainly, we can feel nothing but pleasure at beautiful music, and the composer could have intended us to feel nothing but that.  But I don't think that distracts from the fact that many times music is created in such a way as to incite emotion in listeners, and that feeling is felt when creating music, and so I don't think it's so easy to simply say that music is not emotion; in many instances, I think it is intended to be, and is written as such.
     I think the emotional intention, and feeling present, when creating the music has a bigger role to play in the value of emotion in music.

Does written music need to be played or sung to be music?

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