I used to be indecisive, but nowadays I am not so sure.

There are two things I might write about this week, and I cannot decide which.  So I will start with one, the last lecture in the “Music and……” series at the City Recital Hall, and see where that leads.

Two psychologists presented some findings on the subject of “Music, Feelings and Emotion.” They had undertaken extensive research using facial finite element analysis coupled to sophisticated software, and come up with these conclusions.

  • If you are feeling sad, then listening to sad music will make you feel even more sad.
  • If you are feeling sad. then listening to sad music followed by cheerful music will make you feel less sad and possibly even more cheerful.

Now these conclusions will not come as a surprise.  It’s something most of us have worked out for ourselves over the years.  But in this day and age even the most obvious truth seems to be subject to the need of a formal proof.

Adding to the idea of music affecting mood and emotions, last night Carlos was bubbling over with infectious enthusiasm for the music of Mozart’s C Minor Mass.  It was impossible not to be caught up in his exuberance, despite the trickiness of some of the runs and the relentless rate at which they appear.  He describes the music as “affirmative”, and “full of positivity.”  It is clear that he would classify this piece as music to enliven the mood, reduce sadness and increase happiness.  And who could argue?

In his enthusiasm, Carlos worked with us to take apart the music, inspect, repair and polish the individual sections, and decide how and where to put them back together again, producing a perfectly working whole from the multitude of components inherent in a double fugue such as the “Osanna.”

As we rehearsed, I thought of a friend who restores vintage motorcycles.  His restoration process is very similar to our rehearsals.  It involves taking components apart, getting each one to work in its own right, then re-assembling them to make a working machine. There is a deal of fine tuning on the way, a lot of trial and error, and considerable re-working when things do not quite fit together.  Just like an MWC rehearsal.

And now we have come full circle, as this is the second thing I thought I might write about this week.  C’est la vie!