Music Consciousness

#22
I just came across a singer, Jamyang Dolma, on Youtube. When I first heard her, there was no video and I could have sworn she was a male tenor rather than a female (what? mezzo soprano?). Then with the second song (see first video) for some reason, I burst into tears even though I don't really know what it's about, and the effect lasted for six or seven playings until it got less.

This has happened before; for example with the Eastmountainsouth track (So are you to me) I posted earlier and also with Kathleen Ferrier's I will walk with my love, which is the second song below.

What I'd like to know is:

a) Has this has ever happened to anyone else, and if so
b) can you name the song and if possible give its YouTube URL so I can check it out?
b) Did it happen for you with either of these two songs?
d) Do you have any thoughts why it might happen?


 
#23
...
d) Do you have any thoughts why it might happen?
...

In general I would say an important aspect of art is communicating emotions. Music is especially good at reproducing the emotions of the composer in the listeners. But in your particular case I don't know - have you tried asking yourself? That often works better than just trying to assess your feelings. When the mind is trying to hide something from itself, it has to be coaxed into opening up, It is a very useful technique in meditation.
 
#24
In general I would say an important aspect of art is communicating emotions. Music is especially good at reproducing the emotions of the composer in the listeners. But in your particular case I don't know - have you tried asking yourself? That often works better than just trying to assess your feelings. When the mind is trying to hide something from itself, it has to be coaxed into opening up, It is a very useful technique in meditation.
Well, Jim, there's no doubt these and many other songs/tunes have connected with me emotionally in some way, but I'm not aware of hiding anything from myself. I just hear a tune for the first time and sometimes burst into tears for no apparent reason. Many tunes that do it for me, it's true, seem to me to be hauntingly beautiful, but it seems like something else somehow. Occasionally, a tune doesn't make me cry, but connects with me in other ways I can't put my finger on, like Tchaikowky's Serenade for strings, which I posted earlier, or even Schnittke's Seid nüchtern und wachet, which sounds pretty spooky:


I find it hard to believe that the same person can like Kathleen Ferrier's folk songs and this Schnittke piece. But he does, and why would that be? Do tunes connect solely with emotions, or resonate with something else? It's a mystery and I wish I knew the answer ;-).
 
#25
In general I would say an important aspect of art is communicating emotions. Music is especially good at reproducing the emotions of the composer in the listeners.
Also good for communicating the emotion of the performer too. Sometimes I hear something and feel moved, other times, a different person with the same song or piece might leave me cold.
Incidentally I heard some acquantainces performing a traditional song, one I'd never heard before. I was transported during the song. Afterwards, I told the singers, quite truthfully that I'd been moved to tears. The person actually laughed in my face, rather good-naturedly, saying, "But we sang it in Dutch, and you didn't understand a word!". That was a true statement too, but didn't change the way the song affected me. Perhaps it was a heartfelt sincerity in the performers which allowed a connection, irrespective of the language barrier.
 
#26
Also good for communicating the emotion of the performer too. Sometimes I hear something and feel moved, other times, a different person with the same song or piece might leave me cold.
Incidentally I heard some acquantainces performing a traditional song, one I'd never heard before. I was transported during the song. Afterwards, I told the singers, quite truthfully that I'd been moved to tears. The person actually laughed in my face, rather good-naturedly, saying, "But we sang it in Dutch, and you didn't understand a word!". That was a true statement too, but didn't change the way the song affected me. Perhaps it was a heartfelt sincerity in the performers which allowed a connection, irrespective of the language barrier.
Right. So you've experienced it, but not with the particular songs I've posted. We all post the songs we like, but few of them might affect listeners in a similar way to us. I suppose we've all heard some tracks that posters are enthusuastic about that leave us cold. I personally have an aversion to, for instance, heavy metal, certain kinds of jazz, avant-garde and rap. I suppose others might even hate Kathleen Ferrier's voice, amazing as that might seem to me. Could be I like her because I was born at a time when her songs were quite often on the wireless and I maybe associate them with childhood, Sunday dinners and firelight.

It's interesting that sound quality might not always matter much. One can be in a store and hear something in the piped music stream that suddenly engages one, or hear something on a transistor radio that does the same. It might depend on mood and be a transitory and serendipitous thing. I'm not really much wiser about why music sometimes engages us and sometimes not, but there are couple of articles here and here that might be of interest.
 
#27
... Schnittke's Seid nüchtern und wachet, which sounds pretty spooky:

I found that one fired me up quite a lot, though I'd not heard it before.

I think there must be a lot of factors, some more universal, others related to our personal taste and history.

This for example, had a great impact on me:
There were a number of things about it though. One, I like my music to be unpolished, with the rough edges left on. I also like to hear ordinary people, those having some talent and ability, but otherwise just an everyday person you might pass in the street. But there was also a long history, I've known this song for decades, have heard it sung many times by people around me, a fair number of them having passed on - it has been a long time. Lastly, I had been quite ill and was beginning to recover, accidentally came across that being played on the radio in the middle of the night. It sounded like the sweetest heavenly choir to me, it blew me away for days afterwards, though the effect wears off with time.
 
#28
I found that one fired me up quite a lot, though I'd not heard it before.

Yea. It's about Faust's descent into hell -- and it sounds like it -- yet somehow the main melody is strangely pleasing, complemented by all sorts of weird instrumentation.

There were a number of things about it though. One, I like my music to be unpolished, with the rough edges left on. I also like to hear ordinary people, those having some talent and ability, but otherwise just an everyday person you might pass in the street. But there was also a long history, I've known this song for decades, have heard it sung many times by people around me, a fair number of them having passed on - it has been a long time. Lastly, I had been quite ill and was beginning to recover, accidentally came across that being played on the radio in the middle of the night. It sounded like the sweetest heavenly choir to me, it blew me away for days afterwards, though the effect wears off with time.

I can't say that I love it and that I would listen to it time after time, but it is in fact the first time the words of Goodnight Irene have ever really registered with me -- and what a dark song it is!

It's interesting that you too have observed that the full effect tends to wear off over time. Almost as if a song is gradually filling a small void until it's full. You may still like it and play it quite often, but it never quite connects the same way again.

At college, I got hooked on Walter (now called Wendy) Carlos' Moog-synthesised Switched on Bach, particularly the Brandenburg concerto no. 3. I couldn't find Carlos' original version on YouTube, this is a cover version:


Night after night I would listen to it over and over. I still listen to it in one or other of its its many orchestral versions every now and then. I never figured out why I found it so magnetic, but there's something about the main two Barogue composers, Bach and Handel, that resonates, as if part of my being was always primed and ready for them. The first time you hear them, somehow nothing comes as a surprise.

One can also experience the same thing with more contemporary work -- e.g. Yesterday by the Beatles. Paul McCartney couldn't grok that he'd written the melody, and kept asking people whether they'd heard it somewhere before. I had exactly the same reaction when I heard it the first time and thought that it must be a cover version of an existing song.

Maybe that's a reason some songs hit home. Unconsciously, has a part of us always known them without actually having heard them before? It occurs to me that many works of art, books, films, etc, may resonate similarly, perhaps because they embody a current or past zeitgeist. They may in a sense belong to all of us -- it's just that at some point an artist with the requisite skill manages to finally articulate them in some way. Quite a few composers have said they didn't seem to compose their greatest works - instead, they simply "transcribed" them.

I've heard of novelists talk about their writings in the same sort of way -- even scientists about their greatest insights. We all know the story of Mendeleev and the periodic table, or Kerkule and the structure of benzene.
 
#31
Something I just heard on the radio.

I like the simplicity of the arrangement, and the directness, if you met these three somewhere in a field, they could still perform the song:
 
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