Re: Math Equation Predicts Musical Reactions

Subject: Re: Math Equation Predicts Musical Reactions
From: Jay Smalridge (
Date: Thu Jul 22 2004 - 16:59:22 EDT

It reminds me of the film "Dead Poets Society". The "free-thinking" teacher begins to lecture his class from the introduction to their poetry book which has a sort of mathematical scale to rate the poetry they read. The teacher says its ludicrous to rate poetry on a scale of any sort.

If I recall correctly he then proceeded to tell them to "rip out that section".

...hey, its a good line.

On Thursday, July 22, 2004, at 12:29PM, Eliot Handelman <> wrote:

>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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