Emotions evoked by music

Look deeper into your music, find greater meaning behind lyrics

MARY GINTHER, Evergreen columnist

All music can have an impact on people. From making you super energetic and happy on the dance floor to being an emotional wreck in your room.

The philosophy of music is the study of how it can have an emotional impact on someone based on their own values and beliefs. It is not critical for an individual to analyze the tunes they’re listening to; rather, it is important for the people who create and perform it.

“A complex part of being a musician is about [being able] to analyze music,” said Chris Dickey, an assistant professor of music at WSU. “We would be doing the composer, and music in general, a disservice by not trying to understand what the meaning behind a piece is.”

Although you should consider the who, what, when, where and why of the piece, music doesn’t always have to have meaning behind it.

“Sometimes music is just music for music’s sake,” Dickey said.

Some tunes, such as EDM or Dubstep, can just be fun to listen and dance to. Music like this can be considered surface-level, but it arguably doesn’t have the same impact on listeners as Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” he said.

People may consider classical music as having the most emotional content as opposed to other genres. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. For example, Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure On This Shining Night” is about the sadness Lauridsen feels after losing his wife which he conveyed through his lyrics and a piano melody. Pop culture songs can have this same impactful effect as well.

When analyzing “Lemonade,” the song’s purpose was to bring light to societal issues as well as other personal experiences in Beyonce’s life. This type of content has just as much ability to conjure up an emotional response in the listener as classical music, Dickey said.

“It is important to acknowledge that music is everywhere and it means something different to everyone depending on their differing demographics,” he said. “It is so cool when discovering a piece’s genesis and being able to portray it in both your own way and the way the composer intended it to be.”