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Music as Emotional Catharsis

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Anthony H. View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 15 2011 at 14:42
I've been thinking about something, and I'd like to pose a question to you folks.

When music is being utilized as a form of emotional catharsis, should the emotional overtones of the music be the same as the those of the listener? For example, if I was angry and wanted to calm down, what would be more effective: calm ambient music or fast-paced metal? If I was sad and wanted to cheer myself up, what would make me happier: happy lighthearted music or depressing music?

To put it simply: Should music fit the negative mood of the listener, or should it conflict with it? Which would better help the listener overcome their negative feelings?

I hope that makes sense.


Edited by Anthony H. - November 15 2011 at 14:44
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The Miracle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Miracle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2011 at 15:02
All depends on the situation.
If I'm depressed and want to cheer up, I'll play something cheerful. If I want to dwell on my misery I'll listen to Katatonia.Tongue
There's no specific pattern.


Edited by The Miracle - November 15 2011 at 15:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NotAProghead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2011 at 15:06
I think music which usually brings you positive feelings. Though it's so individual.
Who are you and who am I to say we know the reason why... (D. Gilmour)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anthony H. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2011 at 15:13
Originally posted by The Miracle The Miracle wrote:

All depends on the situation.
If I'm depressed and want to cheer up, I'll play something cheerful. If I want to dwell on my misery I'll listen to Katatonia.Tongue
There's no specific pattern.


That's what's strange, though. Depressing music sometimes makes me feel happier when I'm depressed. If dark music actually made people depressed, I don't think it would have much of an audience at all.


Edited by Anthony H. - November 15 2011 at 15:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Miracle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2011 at 15:30
^It can be a downer when I'm already happy. But you're right - when I'm depressed, it's an aid to dealing with the negative emotions and helps get over it, whatever it is. It's a way of venting depression. I'm no psychologist but that's how it works for me and I think it's the same for most people. If there were no depressed young people, all the gloomy metal sub-genres, goth, post rock, emo, etc.  wouldn't have an audience, or exist for that matter. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2011 at 18:16
Sometimes when I'm sad I want to listen to the saddest music for the deepest experience of misery possible. Surprisingly but I feel very refreshed after that!

Edited by harmonium.ro - November 15 2011 at 18:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2011 at 18:39
I don't really try to use music for mood altering purposes.  If I'm feeling down I usually stick with silence or play something new.  Listening to happy stuff would just remind me I'm down and sad stuff would just increase the feeling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Truth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2011 at 19:07
I've always found it strange that I can listen to anything at anytime and feel these emotional effects but they don't necessarily effect my mood. Of course extremes either way definitely effect my mood but I thought it odd that some people have to be in a certain mood to listen to a specific album. I'm always in the mood somehow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 16 2011 at 00:40
I don't listen to music to alter or enhance my mood.  Basically, music that I like makes me happy and which I don't can make me mildly irritated or just go WTF, depending on how much I dislike it.  But what makes me happy is closely linked to the emotions the music conveys.  If it is very melodic vocal based stuff or just a master instrumental soloist (thinking more of jazzmen and some specific rock guitarist like Gilmour/Latimer), I like stuff that is becalming and fills me with tranquility. 
 
Otherwise, I prefer that the music inherently has some source of conflict, tension or dissonance.  Dissonance not just in the musical sense of the word but simply opposing elements of any kind that cause friction. But I don't like such friction conveyed in a very obvious and in your face way like, um, stuff on Disco Volante.  The mesmeric chord progressions on say the Kate Bush track Moving are much more like what I have in mind. From more archetypal/quintessential prog, KC, GG, some ELP/Yes, Magma convey this kind of mystery/tension very well.  It is even more appealing if it is opposed with gorgeous textures...e.g  South side of sky. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stonebeard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 16 2011 at 01:07
I go for what I want to hear. Often it's depressing to fit a depressed mood, not as often it's happy music to cheer me up. I rarely look for music to make me happy though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote daslaf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 16 2011 at 01:57
Originally posted by harmonium.ro harmonium.ro wrote:

Sometimes when I'm sad I want to listen to the saddest music for the deepest experience of misery possible. Surprisingly but I feel very refreshed after that!

Same here bro... when I'm down I want to really experience the whole process of being depressed, it's cool to feel miserable once in a while, as weird as that sounds
But now my branches suffer
And my leaves don't bear the glow
They did so long ago
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 16 2011 at 18:12
Originally posted by harmonium.ro harmonium.ro wrote:

Sometimes when I'm sad I want to listen to the saddest music for the deepest experience of misery possible. Surprisingly but I feel very refreshed after that!
 
Ditto for me.
 
When I'm depressed I want more and more depression via music. Can't fully enjoy happy/cheery music when I'm saddened.
Dig me...But don't...Bury me
I'm running still, I shall until, one day, I hope that I'll arrive
Warning: Listening to jazz excessively can cause a laxative effect.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Miracle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 16 2011 at 18:19
Originally posted by harmonium.ro harmonium.ro wrote:

Sometimes when I'm sad I want to listen to the saddest music for the deepest experience of misery possible. Surprisingly but I feel very refreshed after that!


Precisely what I meant by venting depression. It's a sort of all-natural prozac.Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote colorofmoney91 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 16 2011 at 20:25
When I'm depressed I like to enjoy depressing music because it makes me feel less lonely. Whenever I'm happy (lolwut) I like to listen to fun metal and upbeat classical waltzes because me being happy is a very joyous occasion. So, I guess I usually listen to music that fits my mood directly. I can't invoke emotions by listening to music of the opposing mood.

But that's just me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2011 at 07:44
Irrespective of whether the music has a sad or happy feel, if you like it, aren't positive feelings the inevitable outcome?
e.g. on the down side of the coin, DSOTM is an unnervingly candid description of the futility and fragility of our passions etc but everyone who is receptive to its promptings will feel (as colorofmoney91 has pointed out) considerably less alone when it comes to dealing with its conclusions i.e. facing life without any spiritual consolations becomes easier to bear innit?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2011 at 18:47
Hi,
 
I have never listened to music because of my "moods" at all ... music for me, has always been the ultimate muse, the ultimate woman, the ultimate love ... and as such, it was never about the anger, or the life, or the lows or the highs ... it was about ... "the experience" that the notes take you into.
 
FOR ME (please repeat this to yourself!), it's like I'm a fish in the water and the music is that water ... I'm a part of the music when I listening to it, meaning that a description of the music is, therefore, not important to me at all, for example ...
 
There is one thing in music that ia magnificent for me, and that is listening to the extremes in human interaction, and since you know that I have studied and been a part of both film and theater, that my tendency is to compare the three and notice the parallels ... it's hard to not compare, for example, the likes of Peter Hammill, and some of the "angry young men" in theater in London in the 50's and the film/theater scene in the 60's over there, that sometimes one could almost say was an abuse of the priviledge ... all of a sudden hearing him screamout loud, was ... wow ... check that out ... and next thing I said ... ??? take that Richard Burton, or take that Lawrence Olivier ... you can't act at all, because here is a guy that is "living it", instead of "acting it".
 
All in all, if I do that with music to pick me up, I will be in trouble ... as much as I have loved some bands, and at times I don't feel well, and such, playing them in the car while driving is dangerous for me, because I get into the music so hard and so fast, I lose it ... I have no idea where I am at, or where I'm going, and such ... so you can see, that using music as a catharsis to define my emotions is bad policy.
 
In general, I try to clear my own catharsis with meditation and inner quiet or sleep ... otherwise the enjoyment of music is "stolen" from me, as I love to say after seeing "City of Lost Children". I also think that the answer to your question depends on you, and how you work with music ... many of us get inspired by a lyric or a note, or a chord, and there are no words to explain that, but it will get you going when you least expect it and at any time regardless of  the mood. I mean I can listen to Yeti at any time, place and dream, and I have written down 2 of the visual poems I have come up with from that piece of music!
 
So I think it is all about what music means to you. Never what I want the piece of music to do for me ... there are fantasies for that!


Edited by moshkito - November 17 2011 at 18:56
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, instead of paying for a guru or church or social program!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2011 at 18:50
Moshkito as emotional catharsis
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2011 at 19:04
Originally posted by Triceratopsoil Triceratopsoil wrote:

Moshkito as emotional catharsis
 
You admins ... !!!
 
Confused  Wink  Tongue 
 
You probably didn't even read it! LOL
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, instead of paying for a guru or church or social program!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2011 at 19:05
Silly, I'm not an admin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2011 at 19:09
Hi,
 
Btw Logan ... not that it matters, and somewhat off topic here, but I have nursed two people off hard drugs (one was heroin), with music and art as the "mantra". That child (not mine, btw), is today in Law School and doing really well and a straight A student. The mom and I are very good friends and still talk.
 
And on a communal trip once, I was the one that even stoned, was able to help others make sure they enjoyed their trip and did not freak out. Sometimes I think that some folks are just plain afraid of losing control. I'm not.
 
And yes ... fun-gi ... I love that ... and now you know where "moshkiae" (and later Moshkito) came from. Aldous Huxley, who was a very good family friend.


Edited by moshkito - November 17 2011 at 19:12
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, instead of paying for a guru or church or social program!



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