Anthropomorphism of tunes

Anthropomorphism of tunes

Occasionally, while playing a tune, I realize that I’m subconscious thinking of the part of the tune I’m playing as good or evil. It might feel like a racist series of notes, or a compassionate one. Should I seek professional help?

Posted by .

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

Switch to a musical style, in which notes are less individual, perhaps? Classical music or, say, jazz?

Posted by .

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

Talk a walk… visit a friend… walk your dog… go to the park.

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

It’s not anthropomorphism. It’s those bloody fearies again, having a hurling match in your head while you play the music.

Posted by .

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

Keep away from sean nós.

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

"Should I seek professional help?"

No, you should be *giving* professional help. This is what every musician should strive for.

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

There’s plenty of it in classical music! Think Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony or 1812 Overture or Mars from the Planet Suite for starters!
And all those film scores written to conjure up visual and mental imagery of good and evil.
Agree with CMO.

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

"It might feel like a racist series of notes"

Were you playing The Mullingar Racist? Or perhaps the Jig of Ethnic Slurs?

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

So funny that you mention film scores!

How they can practically force you to conjure up an image- it’s not on screen, but you can see it so clearly in your mind’s eye!

This is a great example…you only see one man on screen, but you visualise an impressive ship with its hardy crew…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvdrCPr3gDQ

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

And here. There is no dialogue between the fighting parties. The viewer has no clue who or what these white robot-things are, who or what the black thing with breathing issues is…but the brass, playing chords we’ve heard many times before, in Ben-Hur and the like, conjure up the Roman Empire. We only see a few characters but our mind’s-eye visualises an entire evil Empire, the conquests, the repression

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-5Moo_GZj8


I know the effect, because when I sat in the theatre in 1977 watching this for the first time I knew nothing about the plot or the characters. It wasn’t like today, when a film comes out we’ve seen numerous scenes and previews and trailers and interviews with the cast etc. I didn’t see any of that when I sat down in that seat in the summer of 77.

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

To me it’s not about anthropomorphism, but the ability of a tune to transport the listener to a different time and place. It’s sort of an out-of-the-body experience that we’ve probably been practicing ever since we became human.

For me piobaireachd does this powerfully. The effect is nearly instantaneous; the first line of the tune and I’m off somewhere.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x-LvIo9eaI

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

I kinda see this from more than one angle. Maybe since we came down out of the trees and started walking upright in the tall grass we had to learn differentiate sounds we heard as threats or opportunities. Getting it right became a meal, getting it wrong meant a meal for something else. Maybe from there we came up with other categories as a way to separate ourselves from each other. (Pardon my cynicism). Or express feelings through something other than words. Don’t other artists express images through visual representations?

Or, maybe it’s that sights, sounds, tastes, and scents only have meaning derived from our personal experiences? It’s hard for me to articulate so here’s an example. I really like good single malt scotch whisky. My preferences are unique to me. I get that. Still there is one abysmal, inexpensive offering (I’ll not say which) which I get from time to time that has a profound effect. The first time, and every time I raise the glass to my nose the smell of it takes me back to a place and time of my life when I was truly, genuinely happy. (Not that I’m not at all unhappy now by the way). It’s not the reality of the fragrance but the effect it has on me and me alone.

Seems to me that all art, music, visual, literary, theater, is about creating, expressing, a feeling. I seriously doubt that "professional help" is in order, unless you mean music lessons! I do have a friend who I once saw, during a session, lovingly stroke his whistle and say in a soft, sinister voice, "what’s that My Precious? I should kill them all! Oh yes, yes I see!" Of course it was just before a Halloween and just joke. (Come to think of it there are two fiddlers, a piper, and I bodhran player we haven’t seen lately).

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

I’ve always considered tunes condensed emotions, and sets of tunes as a storyline.

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

What you describe kinda sounds like a form of synesthesia.

I tend to sort of think of certain colors when I play certain music. I don’t literally see the colors dancing around me, though, which is what people describe as actual synesthesia. More like I think some music sounds more red or green or orange. Sounds like how those colors feel. I don’t know, hard to explain. Letters and numbers do the same thing for me, and also I sometimes get ear worms that are just words.

I think all these things are probably connected to similar places in the brain, or similar processes in the brain.

Re: Anthropomorphism of tunes

dfost, if you are preoccupied w/thoughts of good vs. evil while playing tunes you either have alot of unpackaging to do or you’re just a lapsed Catholic. This forum isn’t the best resource for either condition. I’d suggest, "Why not play a tune." though that might be the root of what’s triggering your response.

Posted by .