Friday, 4 February 2011

What IS musicality?

A very broad topic, of course, but one in which I am interested in.

My Youtube uploads have covered a vast area of music, ranging from Liszt to Finnissy. And I cannot help but notice how so many people comment on Finnissy's videos (I have uploaded some of th English Country Tunes) quite negatively. On one video, otovioandradas writes:

"the funny thing about the people who seem to enjoy this music is that they HAVE TO LOOK at the score to actually say things like: wow, it 's so complex!", or "wow, this must be so difficult to play!". These people seem to ignore the very basics about music: that it is SOUND. And as far as SOUND goes, this music is DULL."

marcphilos writes:

"If dog vomit had a sound, this would be it."

JianyuTheLegend writes:

 "theres actually people who think this is music lol
they must be insane"

And it is clear when you listen to the video (at the bottom of this post) that there is a significant difference between the melody and harmony in it than the melody and harmony in e.g. Jingle Bells or the Beautiful Blue Danube.

And so what is musicality? Why are some pieces of music 'less musical' than other pieces?  Why is banging seemingly random chords on the piano considered as 'dull sound'? There seems to be some strange perception in everyone's brain where a C major chord sounds much more pleasing than the bottom two keys of a piano played together. 

To be completely honest, I think that there is no such thing as a piece that's scientifically more musical than another. Musicality is an illusion in our brain that we were born with, which gives us emotion based on a series of sounds which somehow fit so well together. A piece of music cannot be totally proven to have a certain level of musicality. You can say that a piece in G major is more musical than a dissonant, Finnissy-type piece, but why does the major scale fit so well to the ear? What's so special about WWHWWWH that makes the music feel happy? Why not sad?

Musicality is an illusion in our brain, that's why.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to say that musicality is not a creation of human actually. The wwswwws thing isn't made randomly. Do an experiment: Play the C0 of your piano and listen carefully. You'll listen all the inharmonic notes beginning with another c and then g , e and you end up with all the notes of the c major scale. These notes are the natural harmonics of this certain pitch .This is how people made the major scale. (Minor is a major scale with the first step a minor third before the actual major) When you play in c major, only the inharmonic notes will sound correctly . So it doesn't have to do with what we listen but how our ears listen and how waves of sound interact with each other ;)