[LAU] Subconscious Affecting Music

Stephen Stubbs theother1510 at sbcglobal.net
Thu Aug 26 23:55:39 UTC 2010

From: Patrick Shirkey <pshirkey at boosthardware.com>

Subject: [LAU] Subconscious Affecting Music


Listening to the demo track on Myna made me wonder what progress people on
this list are making into the concept of music that affects peoples
subconscious mind.

I am actively searching for a way to transcend that sound and vibe but
actually get inside the head of the same audience. My intentions are
purely subversive in nature ;-) I am wondering if anyone has found
anything that is getting close to that level of subconscious absorption?

Clearly there is the potential that music of such nature will
categorically not be absorbed by people in the same way that music like
the demo track is currently. I still wonder if my search will be fruitful
or not...

Can subconscious intelligence enhancing music actually be made or are we
limited to the primitive senses of sexual reproduction and aggression for
mass market appeal?
Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd.

Hello Patrick,

Your search can be fruitful.  Check out this book (if you can find it outside of 
the restricted area of a major university's music library):

On Music In Three Books, by Aristides Quintilianus
Translation, with Introduction, Commentary, and Annotations by
Thomas J. Mathiesen

Copyright Yale University Press 1983
ISBN: 0-300-02893-8

Here's a quick link to Quintilianus:

Simply put, Quintilianus recorded the Ancient Greek observations on, thoughts 
about, and the formulae regarding music.  To the Ancient Greeks, music was not 
an art so much as it was a science and a component of the human soul.  With 
music, you could directly evoke or bring out an emotional response from any 
human listening.  And the Ancient Greeks codified exactly what you needed to do 
to make someone happy, sad, violent, slothful, or whatever emotion you desired.

Be warned, this is not an easy book to read.  I could only get through 2 or 3 
pages before it put me to sleep.  The terms being thrown about have no direct 
meaning to me, and it was necessary to flip back and forth through the 
Introduction, Commentary, and Annotations by Mathiesen to try to get a simple 
understanding of what was being discussed by Quintilianus.

When I finally figured out the recipe for war cant (rarely more than 4 pitches, 
extremely heavy on the percussive elements, and angry/violent lyrics), I started 
believing it was possible that the music convicted youth were listening to, did 
in fact, bring out the violence in them.  And it was the music that was actually 
responsible for their actions, just as their defense lawyers were suggesting.  I 
seem to recall reading somewhere in On Music, that the Ancient Greeks considered 
it criminal negligence by a musician to perform war cant when there wasn't a 
battle to fight.

Some thoughts.  Let me know if you can't find On Music.  I got my used copy from 
Barnes & Noble in March 2003 for $92USD.

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