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How/why music causes emotion?

by Avichal
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zoobyshoe
#91
Jan16-13, 09:23 PM
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Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
We have different definitions of pretty because I find little of Magritte's works pretty but many aesthetically pleasing.
To repeat, "Pretty" stands for whatever reaction. I specifically said "pretty" earlier because it fit the biological stain, but we could have a huge range of aesthetic reactions depending on what we're looking at. You are conflating art and...(insert aesthetic reaction here).

The Magritte was not posted to illustrate "pretty" anyway. It was posted to illustrate that the thing you draw is not the art, the drawing is the art. "This is not a pipe" is true because it's a painting of a pipe, not the pipe itself. As Magritte said, you can't fill the painting with tobacco and smoke it. Likewise, the pipe is not a painting, even if you have an aesthetic reaction to it.
Regarding a flower you're right I don't think natural things are art, I think they have to be created by people but that doesn't mean you can't get the same feeling towards natural things.
Agreed. Here I think you understand that your reaction to a thing is not what makes it art. You've stopped defining art as 'something one has a strong aesthetic reaction to.'
So what is biology then? I'd say that biology is the study of living organisms and doing biology includes all the parts of the process.
Doing biology entails a lot of peripheral activities that aren't, specifically, biology. It's the same in all fields. In order to do particle physics you have to get out of bed in the morning, get dressed, and drive to work. Those activities aren't particle physics, though.

If you want to define those peripherals as part of doing biology, consider this: Biologists and artists have to clean their glasses. Since cleaning one's glasses is part of the process of biology, I am, when I clean my glasses, a biologist, am I not? I must be at least partially a biologist since I do one thing that is part of the process of biology. No?
zoobyshoe
#92
Jan16-13, 10:08 PM
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Quote Quote by BenG549 View Post
Interesting that you feel that art must be deliberate... to use a similar example to Ryan. If I fell over and dropped everything I had on the floor. Then someone said NO BEN DON'T TOUCH IT... took a picture of it and then a year later some said I want to buy that picture if you its an interesting bit of modern art... at what point did it become art? There is no intent to create art, but a picture of my mess is in the tate.
Complete fiction. Nothing created this way ever ended up in the Tate. Jackson Pollock did not accidentally drip paint for hours and hours off the end of a stick onto canvas.

It could well happen that an accident would produce something that was cool to look at. Here again though, just because you have a positive aesthetic reaction to a thing doesn't mean it's art.
Bit picky but I don;t think art has to be aesthetic (assuming that means purely visual). Physics and scientific theories can be considered art without artistic intent... physics is not art.
Art certainly doesn't have to depict what is beautiful, but, when it doesn't, it has to depict what is ugly in some way we might call "beautiful" in the sense of 'with astonishing skill" as in: "Jack Nicholson did a beautiful job of depicting an arrogant bastard in 'A Few Good Men'." The beauty is in the way the beauty or ugliness is communicated.

Physics and scientific theories are certainly not ever considered art. Art allows for complete fiction, fiction as the ultimate goal of a piece. Science absolutely not. An artist may pour his soul into depicting the way he wishes things were. The most a scientist can do is construct a gedanken fiction in the service of illuminating the way things actually are.
atyy
#93
Jan17-13, 03:56 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Physics and scientific theories are certainly not ever considered art. Art allows for complete fiction, fiction as the ultimate goal of a piece. Science absolutely not. An artist may pour his soul into depicting the way he wishes things were. The most a scientist can do is construct a gedanken fiction in the service of illuminating the way things actually are.
I think that is such an interesting distinction. My inclination is to accept it. Yet in both art and science, truth and beauty are ideals. Truth first even in art, yet one hopes that the two are somehow fundamentally united.
fuzzyfelt
#94
Jan17-13, 06:05 AM
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I hope this might clarify some things-

"The choice of Duchamp's Fountain as the most influential work of modern art ahead of works by Picasso and Matisse comes as a bit of a shock," said art expert Simon Wilson. "But it reflects the dynamic nature of art today and the idea that the creative process that goes into a work of art is the most important thing - the work itself can be made of anything and can take any form."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4059997.stm
The person responsible for the snow shovel, urinal and “Nude Descending a Staircase” was Duchamp.

Reading on further down the page that included Zoobyshoe’s quote-
“In 1917 he submitted the now famous Fountain, a urinal signed R. Mutt, to the Society of Independent Artists exhibition only to have the piece rejected. First an object of scorn within the arts community, the Fountain has since become almost canonized by some as one of the most recognizable modernist works of sculpture. The committee presiding over Britain's prestigious Turner Prize in 2004, for example, called it "the most influential work of modern art."[15]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dada

“Anti-art”, if you get the joke, in denying artistic boundaries, denies itself (or it affirms both boundaries and itself, or in achieving a redefinition or lack of definition of art makes the term in that application obsolete). The term has been described as a “Paradoxical neologism”, and is like the ironical term “postmodernism”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-art

“The definition of art is controversial in contemporary philosophy. Whether art can be defined has also been a matter of controversy. The philosophical usefulness of a definition of art has also been debated.” Claims denoting clear boundaries suggest an agreed definition. Some definitions of art are too narrow to include “the most influential work of modern art”, and many other works considered art. There are various definitions here.
Definitions of art-
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/art-definition/

Formalist definitions (elements of design, etc.) combined with intentionalism was one way of allowing for Abstract Expressionism, in that formalism allowed for non-figurative works and placing importance on intention helped distinguish their expressions from “kitsch” or wall-paper. Greenberg had been regarded as a leading promoter of this idea, but distances himself in a quote here-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formalism_(art)

Intention might not be important, e.g.-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_Author

Although I don’t consider them necessary, some examples come to mind. I relinked this recently, exhibited at the Hayward and Serpentine Galleries-



Or there were the working diagrams by theoretical physicists who were invited to show their images on the walls at the RA.
(http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/)
BenG549
#95
Jan17-13, 07:46 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Complete fiction. Nothing created this way ever ended up in the Tate. Jackson Pollock did not accidentally drip paint for hours and hours off the end of a stick onto canvas.
OK, yeah that's fair. Until I can find a 'real' example. I'd be surprised if there is no example out there of someone creating something widely considered 'artistic' by accident though, especially in the tate modern, I'll have a look.

Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
It could well happen that an accident would produce something that was cool to look at. Here again though, just because you have a positive aesthetic reaction to a thing doesn't mean it's art.
Hmmm I'm inclined to agree actually. Unless I can find a reasonable example not borne out of fiction, it might be reasonable. The only problem here is that if I fall over and spill/drop a bunch of stuff, we can agree that is not art because there is no artistic intent, and that if someone were to, for purely artistic means, create a scene exactly the same (not outrageous given that the tate modern has mounds of clothes on the floor and the like passing for art) there is no visual difference between them but one is definitely art and one definitely is not... that's difficult to accept, two man made things that look exactly the same but one is art and the other isn't.

Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Art certainly doesn't have to depict what is beautiful, but, when it doesn't, it has to depict what is ugly in some way we might call "beautiful" in the sense of 'with astonishing skill"
Disagree, things don't have to be aestheticly beautiful (beauty in a traditional sense or beauty as a way of appreciating the subtleties of a great 'dark' performance or peice of visual art) the piece below is by Kazimir Malevich entitled "Suprematist Composition: White On White" 1918, Museum of Modern Art New York. It couldn't be more neutral, it's white, on a white background.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...White_1917.jpg

Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Physics and scientific theories are certainly not ever considered art. Art allows for complete fiction, fiction as the ultimate goal of a piece. Science absolutely not. An artist may pour his soul into depicting the way he wishes things were. The most a scientist can do is construct a gedanken fiction in the service of illuminating the way things actually are.
Yeah ok I can accept that, I wouldn't necessarily describe science as art (possibly some areas of engineering, I know my electronics engineer friend always describes PCB design as art more than science. Certainly architecture, but not science in general) I was just asking if creativity in general was a qualifier, whether is be creative use of colour patterns or creative use of knowledge... I can see why people would think it isn't.
BenG549
#96
Jan17-13, 08:05 AM
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Quote Quote by fuzzyfelt View Post
I hope this might clarify some things-
First of all, very good post! Pretty much covered all the bases. Some of those links are pretty interesting as well.

Quote Quote by fuzzyfelt View Post
“The definition of art is controversial in contemporary philosophy. Whether art can be defined has also been a matter of controversy. The philosophical usefulness of a definition of art has also been debated.” Claims denoting clear boundaries suggest an agreed definition. Some definitions of art are too narrow to include “the most influential work of modern art”, and many other works considered art. There are various definitions here.
Definitions of art-
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/art-definition/
And there in lies the problem or trying to objectify something inherently subjective. Still, can be fun to try!

Quote Quote by fuzzyfelt View Post
Intention might not be important, e.g.-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_the_Author...

...Or there were the working diagrams by theoretical physicists who were invited to show their images on the walls at the RA.
(http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/)
That is very interesting, particularly the wiki page "Death of the Author".
zoobyshoe
#97
Jan17-13, 11:45 AM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
I think that is such an interesting distinction. My inclination is to accept it. Yet in both art and science, truth and beauty are ideals. Truth first even in art, yet one hopes that the two are somehow fundamentally united.
I'm not aware of any aspect of science in which beauty is an ideal. What is it you mean by that?

Something art and science share is their investigative nature. In that they're united, I'd claim. However, art allows an individual to investigate his own psyche and present the results for consideration. The truth he tries to unravel is something like, "This is how my mind operates." Every psyche is valid here. The success or failure lies in how effectively the artist manages to communicate whatever part of his psyche he's working on to his audience. A scientist, on the other hand, is not permitted to explore how he wishes the universe operated and present it as science. What we want from a scientist is someone who more accurately explains the external, objective truth.
zoobyshoe
#98
Jan17-13, 12:21 PM
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Quote Quote by BenG549 View Post
Hmmm I'm inclined to agree actually. Unless I can find a reasonable example not borne out of fiction, it might be reasonable. The only problem here is that if I fall over and spill/drop a bunch of stuff, we can agree that is not art because there is no artistic intent, and that if someone were to, for purely artistic means, create a scene exactly the same (not outrageous given that the tate modern has mounds of clothes on the floor and the like passing for art) there is no visual difference between them but one is definitely art and one definitely is not... that's difficult to accept, two man made things that look exactly the same but one is art and the other isn't.
Your confusion arises from equating the Tate with art: 'The Tate is an art museum. Piles of clothes are displayed in the Tate. Piles of clothes must therefore be art.' Really, the Tate's function is merely to present what enough important people claim is art. The thought, "That which appears in the Tate must, automatically, be Art," is wrong. That would be like saying, "Those theories that appear in peer reviewed journals must all be correct." as if appearing in a peer reviewed journal made them bullet-proof.
Disagree, things don't have to be aestheticly beautiful (beauty in a traditional sense or beauty as a way of appreciating the subtleties of a great 'dark' performance or peice of visual art) the piece below is by Kazimir Malevich entitled "Suprematist Composition: White On White" 1918, Museum of Modern Art New York. It couldn't be more neutral, it's white, on a white background.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...White_1917.jpg
What's not beautiful about that painting?
Yeah ok I can accept that, I wouldn't necessarily describe science as art (possibly some areas of engineering, I know my electronics engineer friend always describes PCB design as art more than science. Certainly architecture, but not science in general) I was just asking if creativity in general was a qualifier, whether is be creative use of colour patterns or creative use of knowledge... I can see why people would think it isn't.
Let me just address the concept of there being an art to something not usually considered an art. What is usually meant is that there is no set 'algorithm' or procedure in certain cases, and so the person is free to develop their own. You amass a collection of rules of thumb and then 'artfully' apply them as needed, operating on informed intuition more than anything else. Engineering is not one of the arts, but it's perfectly OK to say there's an art to it.
atyy
#99
Jan17-13, 05:50 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
I'm not aware of any aspect of science in which beauty is an ideal. What is it you mean by that?
To me the subject of study is often beautiful, just as the view from across the Golden Gate bridge is. Here's a bunch of quotes that show that scientists consider beauty important.

"This result is too beautiful to be false; it is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment." -- Dirac

"It seems that scientists are often attracted to beautiful theories in the way that insects are attracted to flowers — not by logical deduction, but by something like a sense of smell." -- Steven Weinberg

"The emergent physics laws (such as the law of dipolar interaction and the law of non-interacting phonons) are simple and beautiful" -- Xiao-Gang Wen

Of course it's harder to see why cancer might be beautiful, and similarly there are subjects in art which are not beautiful such as war, which is why I agree that truth comes first both in art and science - but I think we do hope that at some deep level truth and beauty are allied.

This book is not about heroes.
English Poetry is not yet fit to speak of them.
Nor is it about deeds, or lands, nor anything about glory, honour, might,
majesty, dominion, or power, except war.
Above all I am not concerned with Poetry.
My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity.
Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may
be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn. That is why true Poets
must be truthful.

~Wilfred Owen
http://www.illyria.com/poetry.html
zoobyshoe
#100
Jan17-13, 10:03 PM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
To me the subject of study is often beautiful, just as the view from across the Golden Gate bridge is. Here's a bunch of quotes that show that scientists consider beauty important.

"This result is too beautiful to be false; it is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment." -- Dirac

"It seems that scientists are often attracted to beautiful theories in the way that insects are attracted to flowers — not by logical deduction, but by something like a sense of smell." -- Steven Weinberg

"The emergent physics laws (such as the law of dipolar interaction and the law of non-interacting phonons) are simple and beautiful" -- Xiao-Gang Wen
Here again, though, a physicist can't construct a law that is beautiful and have it accepted because it is beautiful. It has to be true. I think you can compose music that is extremely beautiful but ultimately pure fiction, and it will represent successful art: it tells the true story of someone's desire. Beauty may be desirable in science but it is an occasional incidental perk. Dirac, in saying beauty is more important than fitting with experiment, sounds a little crazy in that quote if you ask me.
zoobyshoe
#101
Jan17-13, 10:14 PM
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How/why does this sucession of notes convey such a sense of anxious fury? Such furious anxiety? I get all tense listening to it, and my heart rate goes up.

atyy
#102
Jan18-13, 03:50 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
How/why does this sucession of notes convey such a sense of anxious fury? Such furious anxiety? I get all tense listening to it, and my heart rate goes up.
That's a difficult question to answer because the basic data aren't universal. I fall asleep every time I hear that. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed a lot of her playing, but not this.

This performance is not note-perfect, but the variety of appropriate articulation is much greater, don't you think?


Let me ask a counter-question: are there things that don't evoke any emotion? What is the physiological basis of flat affect?

Also, would fear conditioning using sound be an appropriate simplification of the OP question?
Pythagorean
#103
Jan18-13, 08:02 AM
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As a generality, there are four things you can do as a musician to evoke tension: higher notes, faster playing, dissonance, louder notes.

Considering doppler shift, these all simulate something approaching (with the exception of dissonance... though dissonance does produce a rapid beat note
zoobyshoe
#104
Jan18-13, 11:20 AM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
That's a difficult question to answer because the basic data aren't universal.
I can't tell what "basic data" you mean.
I fall asleep every time I hear that. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed a lot of her playing, but not this.

This performance is not note-perfect, but the variety of appropriate articulation is much greater, don't you think?
Are you saying you find the piece, itself, soporific, but that despite that Perahia is less soporific than Listitsa? Or are you saying Listitsa is soporific and Perahia not?
Let me ask a counter-question: are there things that don't evoke any emotion? What is the physiological basis of flat affect?
I don't think any sensory stimulus is felt without an emotional reaction, however subtle. What I'm calling attention to here is that the Beethoven conveys a complete and elaborate narrative of a human being's train of emotion through sound alone (no words).

Also, would fear conditioning using sound be an appropriate simplification of the OP question?
I think the assumption is that there's more "natural," unconditioned response than conditioned when we respond to music. Music = salivation caused by meat, not by the bell that rings at the same time. Sudden, loud noises are inherently frightening, for example. It's not something that requires conditioning.
zoobyshoe
#105
Jan18-13, 11:30 AM
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Quote Quote by Pythagorean View Post
As a generality, there are four things you can do as a musician to evoke tension: higher notes, faster playing, dissonance, louder notes.
Good start. I think all these things have a psychological effect. What's the neurological basis for that? To call one note "higher" than another is a psychological assessment of it. The note is actually merely faster in cycles per second. Why do we equate that with elevation?

Considering doppler shift, these all simulate something approaching (with the exception of dissonance... though dissonance does produce a rapid beat note
And this incomplete sentence is a good illustrative example of how to create tension. We're set up to expect something that never arrives. Music is full of this. A pattern is implied then deviated from.
Pythagorean
#106
Jan18-13, 12:05 PM
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about the beat notes, I was going to say it's a fast beat note (the more dissonant, usually the faster the beat note) so it's similar to playing faster.

Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Good start. I think all these things have a psychological effect. What's the neurological basis for that? To call one note "higher" than another is a psychological assessment of it. The note is actually merely faster in cycles per second. Why do we equate that with elevation?


And this incomplete sentence is a good illustrative example of how to create tension. We're set up to expect something that never arrives. Music is full of this. A pattern is implied then deviated from.
I actually did a project for my cognition and learning class where the goal was to apply Quantitative Phenomenology (word counting and comparing to regular usage) to a project. For my project, I chose the top 10 cited articles of Elsevier's Cognition and did QP on them all.

I won't go into detail about the QP analysis, as all it really did was reconfirm what I'm about to say the top 10 cited articles were about (it's basically a technique to avoid reading all the journals, but the for the sake of judging the effectiveness of QP I read the articles anyway)

Spatial metaphor. First that numbers and time is thought of in terms of space, but then that pitch (higher notes) are also thought of in terms of spatial metaphor. So the term we use ("higher")is fitting. In general, most abstract reasoning is done through spatial metaphor. It makes sense, as the majority of our sensory systems process spatial dynamics through the somatosensory system.

Only one of those articles are still amongst the top 10 cited (it's number one apparently)

1. Time in the mind: Using space to think about time

http://www.journals.elsevier.com/cog...ited-articles/

The one about pitch was:

Spatial representation of pitch height:
the SMARC effect

http://www.mathematicalbrain.com/pdf/2005ERBKBGBB.PDF
Pythagorean
#107
Jan18-13, 12:07 PM
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On "a neurological basis" I don't think that's particularly important. Neurons allow us to learn and adapt. It's the environment and setting and memory/history of an organism that tends to weigh significance of similar stimuli.
Pythagorean
#108
Jan18-13, 12:10 PM
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Quote Quote by Pythagorean
It makes sense, as the majority of our sensory systems process spatial dynamics through the somatosensory system.
To finish this thought, I meant to say that this is where most of direct intuitive experience in life is.


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