Monday, March 18, 2019

Music Monday ~ Emotional Response

Which musical instrument evokes the greatest emotional response?

That is a question posed several years ago at Quora. Over the years the wording has been slightly adjusted (e.g. 'greatest' replaced 'deepest'), through merging of similar questions - the basic question did not change. When I stumbled across the thread the other day, I immediately decided my answer would have been "the saxophone!" There are answers nominating drums, guitar, piano, human voice and so on. When I came to a couple of answers pointing out that really, it isn't the instrument - is isn't any instrument - it is the player, the musician, the artist, who has the ability to evoke emotional response, I realised that this has to be answer. Here are two examples.

Longer form - from Rex Spaulding, High school All-State Honor Band 3 out of 4 years, guitar hobbyist.
Contributed 29 Nov 2016.

I wanted to answer classical guitar.

But then I thought of a homeless guy with nothing to his name but his old cello, and man… he made that sing.

Then I thought of the guy who played tenor sax on the street (made me decide to start with saxophone when I was a kid).

And next I thought of numerous concert pianists who can make a piano sound like something more than just a piano.

Then I got to thinking about a jazz trombonist who made his trombone sound like both a French horn and a trumpet, at the same time, while retaining his trombone tonality.

Then I began to recall the violin solo that choked me up.

Finally, I remember a harp - a simple harp, but it sounded like dancing fairies (or something crazy like that).

There is no simple answer - the instrument wasn’t the source of my emotions… it was the musician, every time.

It’s easy enough for any old Joe to pick up a saxophone and make it squawk like a dying bird. Or drag a bow across a violin and make it sound like nails on a chalkboard. Or just sit a (non-gifted, untalented) kid in front of any instrument…

Short form - from Angel Vera, Professional Musician, Stubborn Intellectial, Philosopher. Contributed in Oct. 2015.

None. The person is delivering the message of emotion through the instrument.

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn
. Charlie Parker.

Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter – to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.

Albert Schweitzer.

I play until my fingers are blue and stiff from the cold, and then I keep on playing. Until I’m lost in the music. Until I am the music – notes and chords, the melody and harmony. It hurts, but it’s okay because when I’m the music, I’m not me. Not sad. Not afraid. Not desperate. Not guilty.
Jennifer Donnelly.


Wisewebwoman said...

I remember feeling like that playing the piano, or hearing it played by Angela Hewitt or John O'Conor and crying over Beethoven and the interpretations. I feel so lucky I was at their concerts more than a few times.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ I haven't had opportunity to see any of the greats performing, in person, myself. My husband, though, often voices a similar opinion to yours, in feeling very lucky to have attended some memorable concerts in his younger years - mostly jazz, big band, or some 60s pop (e.g.Simon & Garfunkel in their early days). Certain jazz pieces, played by certain artists, still bring him to tears.

Wisewebwoman said...

You can tell him Oscar Peterson does it for me. That delicate touch, basically my first intro to jazz.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Will do! :)