Re: Math Equation Predicts Musical Reactions

Subject: Re: Math Equation Predicts Musical Reactions
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Thu Jul 22 2004 - 16:50:22 EDT

Li-Chuan Chong wrote:

>This is most disturbing. '_'

I wish it were somewhat more disturbing. Unfortunately, scheubert's
papers don't seem to be
on the web -- eg, this link turns up dead:

but from whatr I gather the underlying theses about emotion and music
are rather naive -- "happy"
when the music goes up, eg. It would be much more compelling to produce
analyses at a much higher object
level, such that we'd be able to infer the rhetorical thrust of, say, a
recurrent theme, or of variants, thematic
transformations, or whatnot. As he points out at the end, the idea of
composing emotion by the numbers is
still far off, in part, because the kind of explication he offers is
rather too crude. I personally find that
instead of analyzing "affect" in this way it would be better to try to
formulate models of "intelligibility" -- ie,
predict that such and such a note will sound "wrong," or that there are
degrees of right and wrong, and that
the movement from and to is an aspect of any affective shaping we might
care to theorize.

-- eliot

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