Sadness And How It Is Conveyed Through Music

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Part 1: Sadness and How It Is Conveyed Through Music Sadness is one of the six basic, human emotions. It is a negative feeling that humans prefer to avoid and it correlates with a failure to attain or maintain something, and this has given it an evolutionary advantage (Ekman, 1992). Sadness causes both physical and mental changes, inducing feelings of low energy, social withdrawal, insecurity, and negative views of the future (Sachs et. all, 2015). This negative sense can also be evoked in music. Sad cues in speech and sad cues in music have many of the same parallels. Researchers, Fairbanks and Pronovost, studied how pitch correlates to emotional speech. Their research demonstrated that sad speech usually has lower pitch and a smaller pitch range. In music, this same trend is synthesized in tones and this conveys sadness through the musical sounds. In addition, both sad music and sad speech are quieter, slower, more mumbled, and have darker timbre (Dalla Bella et al., 2001). Part 2: Philosophical/Psychological Approaches There are two groups debating this musical paradox: “cognitivists” and “emotivists”. Cognitivists argue that when people listen to sad music they do not directly feel sadness, but they do have the ability to perceive negative emotions in the music’s structure, which can then induce reminders of sad feelings (Sachs et all., 2015). According to German composer Paul Hindemith, the moments that evoke emotion occur too quickly and are too fleeting to lead
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