Unravelling the DNA of music

Many of us enjoy music from cultures across the world – but do we respond in the same way and does it evoke similar thoughts and feelings?

September 29, 2023

Musical notation and words describing music
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Thanks, Christine, for a very well researched and interesting article about the UNIVERSALITY of the impacts of music.  I was quite surprised to read that so much research has been devoted to figuring out whether people interpret music similarly or differently across different cultures.  I was even more surprised to hear that the experts believe it proven that there is quite a lot of universality in the relationship between music types (lullaby / dance / sad / glad etc.) and people’s subjective interpretations, even when the cultures are different.

One of the standard elements in western classical music is that major keys are associated with optimism and minor keys with sadness.  This much is drummed into one when studying Bach—and this was just one of many such link-ups that people in Baroque times believed were inherent and obvious.  For instance, a diminished fifth was supposed to represent the cross, and remote keys, that is those with many flats or sharps, were supposed to have disturbing ‘affects’.  I doubt whether most of these dogmatically stated linkages has any basis in fact.  But it would be fascinating if the specialists could find even one using their experiments!

Peter_G_Moll - 2023 09 29

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