Re: Math Equation Predicts Musical Reactions

Subject: Re: Math Equation Predicts Musical Reactions
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Thu Jul 22 2004 - 18:35:31 EDT

Jay Smalridge wrote:

> <>
> On Thursday, July 22, 2004, at 10:45AM, Eliot Handelman
> <> wrote:
> I don't know if I misunderstood what you ment but the link that you
> gave isn't dead. It works for me.

> <>Althought half his references are himself....hmmmm...

That's normal. He also emphasizes that these are first steps.

This really gets my nostalgia for "research performance" going. Here are
the facts. If
someone experiments scientifically with emotion and music, he possibly
gets an article
about his work in "discover." The utterances of the scientist are
condusive to publicity in
the way the utterances of a musician aren't. Musicians suffer from
growing total saturation of
production, whereas psychologists benefit by, eg, being able to consult
34 commercial
recordings of the goldberg vars.

Let's pretend the psychologist is actually a kind of artist -- creating
 called experiments, performing in journals and at conventions that
usually have better food
than music festivals. The art involved is like an allegorical kind of
art, since you always
have to be able to extract some sort of moral -- eg, "confirms the
theory that people emote
to music."

My feeling is that as art, science about art is too simplistic -- it may
be ok science. If
you invert the relations, you could get an "artistic science" about eg
music and emotion,
which may or may not be as good science as the conventional kind, but
which surely is better art.
Lamonte Young did this sort of thing with his adaptation experiments.
Art-science performance could be
deliberately bad or excessive science -- it could be cruel or
outlandish. But it would still
have to be subject to the same allegorizations about truth thay science
makes. Of course you can
take on the meaning of allegory and its desirability (generally
considered a flaw in literature).

My nostalgia for this (it was an idea I had in the early 90s that I
never publically pursued) is
based on the wish not to turn music into a 2-d graph that has "happy and
sad" in one direction and
"sleepy and aroused" in another. I find this abysmally empty poetry and
the invention of better
categories or metaphors is something onl;y poets or artists are at all
qualified to take on. Why then
leave the scientists the resulting degrees of freedom? Create new models
of empirical practice. I can't see
how otherwise we're going to get to any kind of interesting about how
music actually works, what it does,
and how to make it do more of whatever it's good at.

-- eliot


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