[LAU] re Subconscious Affecting Music

david gnome at hawaii.rr.com
Sat Sep 4 08:29:02 UTC 2010

Rustom Mody wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 4, 2010 at 12:46 PM, Louigi Verona <louigi.verona at gmail.com 
> <mailto:louigi.verona at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         There are two voices I hear here vis-a-vis Bach:
>         1. Art for art's sake -- the romantic idea
>     Why I don't like such unstructured discussions is because in the end
>     it is all labelled by some generic stereotypes and misunderstood
>     completely. If everything what I was telling you believe falls into
>     some romantic idea of art for art's sake then obviously I wasted my
>     time.
>     L.V.
> Louigi:
> Sorry if something I said offended you. Actually I was/am really more 
> interested in the original discussion viz. music can be used to affect 
> people in ways that they may not be aware of. To which I wanted to add 
> this that the intrinsic musical content -- such as tunings -- may be 
> more important (because less noticed) than more extra-musical elements 
> like lyrics, female-moaning sounds etc.
> If someone says tunings are irrelevant I can only conclude he has only 
> ever heard equal temperament.
> Unfortunately this discussion is particularly pointless on email 
> (without an audio-demo...)
> Still let me try a theoretical summary:
> 1. Anyone (who is not tone-deaf) can distinguish one note from another 
> say on the piano ie 100 cents
> 2. At the other extreme there must be a least count to the sounds that 
> any human in any way can distinguish -- let us say 1/1000th cent.
> These two figures 100 cents, 1/1000th cent set the bounds of the human's 
> hearing-ability 'least-count'.
> Now somewhere in between these two figures we begin to distinguish 
> sounds. Let us for example say that I can distinguish 15 cents but not 
> 2.  But does that mean that my (subconscious) reactions say as measured 
> by breathing, heartrate, skin-conductivity etc are not affected below 15 
> cents?
> This is the open question.
> If it is somewhere between 15 cents and 1/1000th cent then that is a 
> danger-zone wherein machiavellian person can manipulate me in ways that 
> I am not aware of.

Someone's un/subconscious might be aware of a sound that their conscious 
mind hasn't noticed yet. I don't subscribe to the theory that 
subconscious reactions can be measured by monitoring 
breathing/heartrate/skin conductivity: those all presume that the 
reaction is something unusual enough to change the person's 
breathing/heartrate/skin conductivity. I think that if you grow up in a 
typical urban environment, you get inured to a lot of sounds that would 
startle or alarm someone who grew up in a quiet rural environment.

While being monitored as above, the city slicker might show no reaction 
at all, while the country bumpkin might be at the top of the scale on 
all of them.

The real interesting measure of perception/influence of music on thought 
might require use of functional MRI scanning, which can show the actual 
electrical activity in the brain.

> Coming back to Bach: If he was not interested in tunings he would not 
> have written the Well Tempered clavier.
> If he was interested in promoting equal temperament he would have called 
> it the Equal tempered Clavier

There were plenty of tunings in Bach's day. If music over the centuries 
had NOT settled on a standard tuning that essentially displaced the 
others, would modern music have been experimenting with alternative tunings?

gnome at hawaii.rr.com
authenticity, honesty, community

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