We all love music, but because of it’s different variety, it depends on what type of sound we like which suits our personality or age group.
As a result, there’s a range of genres such as: Country, Rock, Pop, Classical, not mentioning the different instruments which create the sounds.
Regardless of the type of music, even without any words sang, listeners can usually and instantly identify the emotional character, connection, and tone of the music which they hear.
We’re able to easily distinguish music which sounds cheerful and happy, from music which sounds dour or sad.
So the biggest question regarding music, ever since the invention and existence of organized sound, has been how and what the exact relationship is between music and how it affects one’s emotions.
Is the expression just a matter of personal association or influence. This unlikely since those listening in a concert setting to a piece of music will all be in agreement that it either sounds happy or sad, upbeat or subtle.
Is this music that evokes emotion in virtue of being able to arouse those emotions in the listeners. One theory is that there’s a connection between music and the exact movements of the human body, which is dance.
Sad or slower music for instance will mimic the posture along with the actions of standing still or emulating a sad situation. The exact relationship, however, between music and the exact body movement it influences isn’t really that well understood.
Dance To The Music
So research has been applied towards exploring the connection between music, the body movement itself, its influences and the relationship it has to emotion. The idea and belief being that music and movement will usually share a dynamic structure.
To study this, what was generated was simple piano melodies and the movement that it influences represented by a computerized animated bouncing ball. What was tested was that there were certain musical melodies which corresponded directly with the specific movements of the ball.
The beats per minute of the music corresponded directly with the bounces per minute of the animated ball, as if it were dancing to the beat. The direction along with the pitch of the music corresponded directly with the bounce distance of the ball.
What was also adjusted was the tone and intensity of the piano music which controlled the bouncing ball, while they could also view and then hear the results of the changes which they made.
Music Used To Control Emotions
Another study recruited a group of musicians to play with a computer generated program. One half of them were given the “movement” version of the piece, while the other half were given the “music” version.
Each of them were asked to use the program so they could express 5 different emotions: anger, happiness, fear, sad, and peaceful. They placed the sliders in the exact positions regardless if they controlled the music or the movement versions.
The results suggested that the presence of a common structure when it came to the emotionally expressive music and the movements. The various directions of the movements functioned the same way in both the emotional music and the movement itself.
Music In Relation To Emotion And Movement
There has also been extensive research when it comes to the wide variance of music, classical music from centuries ago to modern computer generated techno music, which the kids bump to these days.
The testing was repeated on the various types of music such as instruments from the far East, which is far different and culturally diverse from Western based music.
This form of music uses completely different instruments providing different beats and tones, various scales and tunings. But what they all created were the same auditory along with the identical visual patterns which were similar to those which were produced by modern day musicians.
When it came to the movement patterns, the researchers found that every emotion except for “anger,” the music along with the movement patterns which were created by the Far Eastern music, all closely matched the American patterns.
So when looking at the musical patterns, they found that three of the emotional patterns, happiness, sadness, and fear, were found to be the closest to the American music patterns, than any other emotional based patterns.
When the movement and the music patterns didn’t match up, then they were similar on most of the parameters.
When Music Emits Emotion
What these experiments did was bring the thinking closer to understanding the relationship which exists between music, emotion and body movement.
What they did was provide evidence that the dynamic features of emotional expression may in fact have cultural universality.
It was found that all of the emotional expressions have similar dynamic contours found in all genres of music and movement. So what this research leads to is it leads one outstanding yet penetrating question.
Since there is a shared structure between music and movement, then how much of that structure may have affected the evolution of humans.
One can only conclude that based on these experiments which are tested over a variety of different music types, and in different population bases in the different parts of the world, that there is indeed a better grasp of the relationship which exists between music, emotion, and movement.