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“What Feelings Sound Like”

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Elizabeth-Burton Jones
Week 4

“What Feelings Sound Like”

A river flows alongside the grass and clashes abreast rocks. The fish, the snakes, the frogs take refuge in the flow. It moves, and with this movement the river’s environment is introduced to different terrains some calm and some tumultuous. And in one moment this river flows into a fall. The river starts to disconnect and the environment that once was flowing, becomes a scrambled flow, still moving, yet ever-changing in the movement. Ever-changing in the fall.  Splat. Splash. Mist.  But with all of these changes, it is still flowing. As water cascades down from a waterfall so too do thoughts flow from one aspect to the next. Just as the river mentioned above, thoughts begin with an original flow. Even though the thoughts are introduced to different feelings (happy or sad) and can at sometimes become disconnected, the thoughts still flow from one thought to the next.  For this week, I would like to look at the stringing of the mind and the mind’s musical flow.

I was inspired by the Clark and Deacon reading.  In the Clark reading, the “reason respecting flow” was mentioned. In short, the reason-respecting flow suggests the introduction of one thought breeds introductions of other thoughts and feelings (“sun->sunscreen->paradise”). To connect to the prompt, I tried to link the relation between the flow of thoughts and the sound of music. This made me wonder about the validity of the flow of thoughts and how they can be emotionally shifted when music is introduced.

For instance, right now when you hear any one of these songs, how do you feel? What do you think about?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkADj0TPrJA – Phil Collins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXt56MB-3vc -Red Red Wine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSByjqMGtaU – Welcome to the Jungle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_27y74pw1g – Giving Up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qqib2eDweE – Moonlight Sonata

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWZKw_MgUPI – Pop

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XjYY9mffDg –  Bust the Windows


Or when you listen to music from Teddy Pendergrass, John Legend, or Barry White how does that change your emotions?

The examples listed demonstrate a wide variety of feelings. The songs stimulate anger, excitement, sadness, relaxation, etc. So I wonder how these feelings can be attached to music and how the music can activate these feelings and continue the flow of other thoughts. For instance, if a person is sad, and they play music that is upbeat, how can this change the flow? Also, music can change the flow and cause a mixed emotion.

Another example of the aroma of music could be an emotional attachment. When looking at music, often certain feelings are brought to the surface. According to the Deacon reading the certain words can bring other aspects. (“Figure 1.1” “stringing together words in a sentence leads the listener to bring together images in the mind”). The same could be said for music. By stringing together different instruments and voices and tones, different images could be created in the mind.

Every one has different reactions to music, some reactions could be created by thoughts and feelings. For instance one song could be connected to your first Kiss or first date. In the movie, “Silver Linings Playbook” the main character has a certain connection to the above song. The Stevie Wonder Classic was his wedding song. However, one day when he came home he found his wife with another man, the music that accompanied his wife’s lip-locking with another man was in fact his wedding song, the Stevie Wonder classic. Needless to say, the string of thoughts became tangled up and resulted in his mental breakdown.


To try to answer the question about combining music and a symbol a plethora of things could happen. Someone could have a nervous breakdown (“Silver Linings Playbook”), someone could be reminded of a happy moment. These strings create a tapestry of musical representations that are visible and invisible.

Respecting the flow in music

Respecting the flow from feelings to musical arrangement.



Finally, there is a connection between spoken word and the transition to song. Through this transition the flow of thoughts and emotions tries to be equally translated. This form of music is difficult to achieve because it takes time to learn how to channel one’s thoughts into another form of speech. By pouring out raw emotion into music, the artist respects the flow and a greater level of mastering of music is achieved.

In conclusion, the connection of music and symbolism is inextricably linked to the flow of language. Without the flow from one subject to the next and the continuous activation of thoughts, music would not be able to have a powerful impact. However, if music is built from thought, (which through this week’s lesson we can conclude that music is a product of the flow) then we can have meaningful emotional connections to music and “we’ll all float on ok”.


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