Expressing Emotions Through Music

      Have you ever thought about how you can explore the emotional character and characteristics of expressivity through music?

     All the implications aroused while trying to answer this question is the reason why I compose the way I do. I generally try to depict an emotion or state of mind by using my musical knowledge. This is so because I believe that sound is a very powerful source and that depending on the way you use and combine it, you can indeed connect with the people who are listening to your music. This is very akin to what film composers do and I, being one as well, always bring this approach to music composition in general, which is trying to bring images, feelings, thoughts to life through music and sound.

      Therefore, it is my belief that music, as an art form and as a language is only so because there is communicative intention behind it. This implies that you will be making use not only of your musical knowledge but also of a breadth of knowledge and sensibility about life and all its aspects (social, cultural, etc). That said, it is important to know, to be a seeker of experiences, to read, travel, be in contact with other ways of thinking and other cultures, to grow as a human being, so that your musical experience can benefit from all your wisdom and ability to turn all this into music. But how do you express emotions through music?

     In a musical composition there are several elements that may be manipulated in order to communicate an intention or trying to convey an emotional state, feeling or idea. Most is done by the composer, but also by the performer at some extent. As a composer, while manipulating musical elements such as structure, tempo, melodic contour, harmony or loudness, you may be able to lead or mislead the listener to a specific direction of the musical composition by setting up expectations that are rewarded, violated, or suspended. These fluctuations of tension in structure, rhythm, harmony or melody of a given music have impact on the perception of emotions through music – the theory of ebb and flow. This theory implies that music evokes emotions in patterns of tension and release. This means that the expressive variations in music, using the musical elements, may serve an aesthetic function by delaying an expected resolution and creating psychological tension.

      In sum, music expression or expressiveness is a game of contrasts that can be achieved by manipulating the musical elements in such a way that the message or feeling you wish to convey can be understood by the listeners. But this concept is nothing new and it has been around in musical practices throughout the history of music.

Do you like what you read?

Subscribe to the newsletter and get a free sample of the Beyond Music Theory eBook!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.