Japanese researchers published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology that listening to sad music might evoke positive emotions. Those of you that know me know I am always reading and quoting studies. There is a part of me that loves trying to understand human behavior. That said, I found these findings and additional thoughts expressed by musician Gillian Welch to be interesting and revealing.
Science Daily quotes the study as saying “Emotion experienced by music has no direct danger or harm unlike the emotion experienced in everyday life. Therefore, we can even enjoy unpleasant emotion such as sadness.” These results are in line with the tradition of tragedy in music. Actually, the tradition of tragedy in art and entertainment goes all the way back to Greek tragedy in the 5th century BC. So, perhaps a study was not really necessary to prove that humans enjoy experiencing sadness expressed outside of themselves.
Gillian Welch says “music used to be the be-all and end-all of entertainment and art, for the populace, back before TV and movies.” It’s easy to forget that entertainment by TV in the U.S. has only been around for about 85 years and movies about 100 years. That seems like a long time. However, recent findings indicate early modern humans could have spent their evenings sitting around the fire, playing bone flutes and singing songs 40,000 years ago!
She says, “These tragic songs serve several purposes. They let us know that these things happen to people – and if they haven’t happened to you, they could. And they tell you, you need to have compassion.”
Recently, I have been down with the flu. While lying in bed, I was thinking of this blog and that I should look up songs about and write about influenza. However, that thought was thoroughly depressing.
Instead, I stayed in bed and looked up the radio show American Routes. If you aren’t familiar with the radio program, “American Routes is a weekly two-hour public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music — blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical.”
Because of the “All About That [Upright] Bass” cover by Kate Davis, I stumbled upon Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox. First, I can’t say enough great things about Kate’s singing and bass playing. She has incredible talent on the bass and excellent vocals. I am so jealous. Try watching the video only once. Thank you Alan for sharing it with me on Facebook.
Also, thank you to Roxane Assaf for writing the article “Kate Davis: All About That Bass but So Much More”. It was a pleasure to learn more about Kate and Scott Bradlee’s world of Postmodern Jukebox. Evidently, Scott Bradlee is the mastermind behind videos that match musicians and dancers to popular songs. I believe he also arranges the music. According to Scott’s website “He pursued Jazz Studies at the University of Hartford, then moved to New York to become a starving artist. He booked gigs, but as he puts it, “Jazz pianists are a dime a dozen in New York City.” So he moved to Astoria to save on rent and, in 2009, started making videos.”
Scott Bradlee has incredible vision and I admire how he makes things happen. His website says it best, “Discovering talent and knowing what to do with it is fundamental to the business of music.”
Clearly, Mayhem has a propensity for this kind of thing. It is easy to tell she loves these dresses and is a natural at having her photo taken in them.
I admire Mayhem’s enthusiasm and her ability to be completely absorbed with the subject of dresses. As a testament to her creativity, it’s not just dresses. She is inspired by kites and the Olympics, too.
Probably most at that age (or any age) would have moved on after creating one or two and started some other hobby. Credit is due to Mayhem’s mom for endorsing such activities by providing endless supplies of tape and paper (and probably patience). It would be so easy to say “Not now Mayhem, I’m tired”.
A review of the song “Soda and Salt” by James McMurtry. First, the guitar work on the intro is awesome! The music in this song makes me want to get up and dance immediately. If only I could play guitar like this. Then, when the band comes in – yes!
The surprises keep coming, it’s like reading a crime novel, you want to hear what comes next all the way through the song. Surprise – a trombone solo! And then there’s the lyrics, so good.
– More Info –
Artist / Musician / Band: James McMurtry
Song: Soda and Salt
Album: Walk Between the Raindrops
Genre: Rock and folk-rock, Americana, singer songwriter, guitarist
From: Fort Worth, TX
Where to buy or purchase: Direct from his website, iTunes
Evidently in ancient Greece and ancient Rome people did not believe creativitycame from human beings but that humans were a vessel capturing ideas from outside themselves. The beauty of this concept is removal of intense pressure from the artist.
“If your work was brilliant you couldn’t take all the credit for it,everybody knew that you had this disembodied genius who had helped you.If your work bombed, not entirely your fault, you know?Everyone knew your genius was kind of lame.”
The story Elizabeth tells at 10:10 about American poet Ruth Stone and a poem coming at her from over the landscape and shaking the earth underneath her feet is amazing.
Those of you who have experienced bursts of creativity where a song or a painting is completed in one setting, will likely recognize how the result just “happened”. It reminds me of the Keith Richards “Satisfaction” story.
First, the vocals are great. Who could tell the singers are so young with such aged quality and delivery? It was a shock to me. Second, once I saw live performance video, it was a pleasant surprise to see they actually play the instruments in the band and on the recording and play them well. And finally, the lyrics do what the best lyrics do. Here is an excerpt on lyrics by Sean Hartley that captures this idea, “Lyrics are poetry that are meant to be heard, and understood, in real time. …[that] strive to be simple and clear, to express the feelings of the heart and the head in a way that is effortless, …” (see full quote)
– More Info –
Musicians: Sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg
Band: First Aid Kit
Song: My Silver Lining
Album: Stay Gold
Genre: Folk Pop, Americana, Alt-Country
Where to buy or purchase their music: Direct from their website, iTunes
Thoughts and Phrases reminds me of a category that could be found on Wheel of Fortune. I envision this website to be a collection of just that – any group of words, or even a single word, maybe just a song – in this sense it is roughly synonymous with expression.
One thing about expression. It is an indication of feeling, spirit, reaction – but more importantly, it is temporary and fleeting.
This website is meant to explore moods and ideas in the moment they are relevant, similar to a Polaroid. A later visit serves to call up a memory of a time/place and allows for a vantage with different eyes.