Friday, April 13, 2012
Music and mood: nature or nurture?
Yesterday evening, I played a piece of my new daughter, Gabriella (a four year old), called The Banshee by Henry Cowell. To those of you who do not know the piece, it is executed by experimentation of fingernails, and fingers on the piano strings. I thought it was really neat. Gabbie and I have been learning a little about what some of h instruments sound like thi week, so I played it for her and my fiancé. She was instantly scared and plugged her ears. She said, "I don't like those sounds; they are scary!" I have been pondering this since yesterday evening. She has had absolutely no exposure to any classical music or, to my knowledge, any "scary movies". So,are there sounds that we instinctually associate with different emotions? I began popping search words into google related to this matter and came up with: Scarier Music is Scarier with Your Eyes Shut http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915154854.htm Why Horror Music is so Scary http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spirituality/mysticism/Why-horror-movie-music-is-so-scary/articleshow/5980507.cms A Little Fright Music: A Few Notes on Why We Find Fright Music Scary http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/11303/1185620-388.stm Some of the articles I found said that we are conditioned to find these types of music scary, but if that were truly the case, why would a four year old little girl find a simple technical example on the piano really scary? I believe there is more to this like some of the articles suggest. We are nature before we are nurture. What exactly happened to imprint some sounds as scary into our DNA? Some of these articles suggest animal sounds, dynamics, etc. is it possible tha some cataclysmic tragic soundtracks have been instilled into our very being? And if that is the case, are other emotions written into us as well? What if someone could play a child that has experienced horrible traumas happiness? Amplify the aural happiness with sunshine, a safe environment... Could you help wash away their traumas?