“Music makes all aspects of emotion numerically measurable.”
From Chapter 8 on "Love of Intelligence," the section on "Concluding Summary," of Emotion in Life & Music.
“Music makes all aspects of emotion numerically measurable.”
A Facebook discussion about why people who like Rock music don't move toward having better taste concluded with this comment from me, which I wanted to share.
The reason people today do not move toward better taste in music is the mind-body dichotomy, a cultural anti-integration between our animal nature and our higher, human nature. Rock music is not mid-level music in the transition from childhood to adulthood; that implies that it is wholesome and integrated, but just less complex. The entire essence of rock music is the "liberation" of wild animal impulse from the control functions of higher intelligence. So it is not part of the proper and healthy and normal process of development; it is moving in the opposite direction, toward physicalism and animalism, constantly reinforcing a negation of the higher faculties.
The essence of rock music is the boiling loins blowing out the brain. It is not just unsophisticated--in fact it is highly sophisticated in its means of accomplishing its aim which is the destruction of morality and humanity.
(Cue the arguments that rock star X has has "classical training," that rock star Y has "very advanced guitar finger technique," that rock song A has "complex harmonies," etc--all of which are just mechanistic, out-of-context technical factors which lose the overall meaning and message of the music.)
From Chapter 8 on "Love of Intelligence," the section on "Today & Tomorrow," of Emotion in Life & Music.
“What we need is neither a policy of killing the past to reach nothingness, nor a ‘living dead’ zombie culture or necromancy stuck in the past, but a continuity of cultural value, based in a factual understanding of human nature and universal human needs.”
From Chapter 5 on "The Hierarchy of Emotion," the section on "Music & the Hierarchy of Emotion," of Emotion in Life & Music.
“The essence of the symphonic process is the pattern of establishing some incomplete or conflicted emotional theme, breaking it down and taking it apart, considering all the components from various angles and in various permutations and transformations, and then reassembling the elements, bringing it all together into a reorganized summary context, thus resolving the conflict and achieving integrity of the psyche.”
From Chapter 4 on "Emotional Integrity," the section on "Music as an Emotional Integrator," of Emotion in Life & Music.
“Everyone knows the value of exercise and training the body, and the pleasure we take in seeing the results in excellence of physical action in sports. Many know the value of exercise and training in cognitive skill through language, and the pride we take in seeing the developed power of man’s intelligence. Few appreciate what music uniquely provides: a means of exercise and training of the emotional faculty... a means of rewarding with pleasure the process of growth and mastery in emotional skill.”
Titled "Enjoy your music more!
"I think that there are many reasons for reading Emotion in Life and Music. The one that I think is very important is also very personal. Music is very personal. It means a lot to me and to many other people. So why, and does why matter? Is it just meaningless and subjective? (Which most people don’t actually believe or they wouldn’t get so excited about it.) What does it mean to feel so good or bad from hearing a piece of music. Should I care?
"Mr. Johnson does a great job in addressing these questions. He doesn’t give you the superficial, feel good answers that you hear so often. He talks about the real connection you have with your favorite and least favorite. That does mean that you might not be happy with everything he has to say, but those points will deserve your attention and consideration. Damn, that’s right, there may be some thinking involved. It is the good kind. The kind that leads to better understanding and more enjoyment of the that good stuff: music!"
From Chapter 4 on “Emotional Integrity,” the section on “Music as an Emotional Integrator,” of Emotion in Life & Music.
“Music is nature’s reward for cognitive fitness.”
What is the connection between the modern horror genre and ancient Greek tragedy?
Notice that the ancient version of the theatrical masks of tragedy and comedy (see the Roman mosaic) did not portray simple frowning and smiling faces--as though the contrast were as simple as "sad versus happy."
No, the original form of these masks showed a grisly grimace for comedy, and for tragedy: a face not of anguished loss but of awesome shock and horror! These are much more complex character commentaries, not simple mono-emotions.
Further, tragedy and comedy are not two strictly separate kinds of story, but two psychological principles which mix together--which is exactly what happens in The Can Opener.
The philosophical nature of horror is not just to scare people for thrills, but to shock them into a full realization of some truth that we all sense but have not directly faced, perhaps because it is uncomfortable....
What is the shocking reality revealed by The Can Opener? Find out by supporting the project and being the first to hear the cast album and see the finished film!
I just put together this Classical Halloween Playlist for my students. Enjoy!
Another new 5-star review of "Emotion in Life & Music" just appeared on Amazon:
"Loved this book! Over the course of reading "Emotion in Life & Music" I found I could better understand my own personal musical history and why I was into certain types of music in different periods of my life. Zachary's perspective is very enlightening and has helped me broaden and sharpen my musical tastes, increase my self awareness, and nourish a more enriching relationship to music in general. I definitely recommend the book to anyone interested in understanding music on a deeper level."