TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Music doesn't have to convey an emotion.

So often music is spoken of as the" language of emotion" and people often define the difference between sound and music as the emotion conveyed. But is the emotion what makes it music or is emotion something that becomes associated with it later? Many composers (myself included) write music that explores an idea or concept but has nothing to do an emotional state. Is what they're doing not music then?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 9 2012: That's a difficult one. In my opinion, most people recognize "sad music" as such because they have been socially influenced to think so (basically, because of the culture we live in). Now, let's imagine that we played a "sad song" every time our kids felt happy, do you think they would associate that kind of music with a sad feeling? I don't think so. For them it would be the most cheerful music because that happy feeling would be strongly attached to that music. In the same way, if a beloved one died while we are listening to "happy music", we would automatically associate a sad feeling with that kind of rhythm, melody...

    There is a tendency to think that a lively rhythm elicits a happy feeling and a slow rhythm just the contrary, but I don't think it always applies. So, in my opinion, it would be impossible to convey a particular emotion to everyone through music, as we all experience different things throughout our lives.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.