July 13, 2024


I Fall For Art

The Enigma of Art and Music: Why Do They Stir Our Souls?

The Enigma of Art and Music: Why Do They Stir Our Souls?
The Enigma of Art and Music: Why Do They Stir Our Souls?

In the realm of sentient beings, humans stand as paragons of intellect and creativity. We’ve embarked on a journey of self-expression, employing the written word, artistry, and music to convey ideas and evoke emotions. This profound ability warrants contemplation, for it hinges upon a remarkable achievement: the transmutation of an artist’s innermost sentiments into colors, shadows, and harmonious notes, awaiting decipherment by perceptive souls. It’s an accolade that stands as a testament to our collective ingenuity.

Yet, beneath this wondrous tapestry lies an enigmatic abyss. Despite the seemingly effortless capacity of artists and musicians to craft works that resonate profoundly with their audience, the mechanics of this emotional alchemy elude our grasp. While we acknowledge that emotions may find their voice in art and that humans readily discern them, the precise mechanism by which art and music orchestrate this symphony of sentiment remains shrouded in mystery.

Enter the venerable cognitive psychologist and linguist, Steven Pinker, who provocatively likened music to “auditory cheesecake.” In his analogy, music, like cheesecake, is a product of our ability to exploit our emotions, akin to how we exploit our taste buds. Both phenomena, according to Pinker, are somewhat superficial when compared to their foundational counterparts: language and taste. In essence, Pinker contends that there’s no mystique in how art and music rouse emotions; they are ingeniously designed to do so by resonating with humanity’s innate communicative instincts.

Read More : Soundscape: Where Art Meets Music

However, not all scholars find themselves in harmony with Pinker’s perspective. In the diverse realms of psychology and beyond, dissenting voices argue that music and art transcend the confines of basic senses, constituting distinct modes of expression. Yet, this assertion grapples with an inherent paradox: if these forms are not simply products of sensory exploitation, how do they weave their beguiling spells upon our emotions?

Here enters the realm of cognitive science, with Mark Changizi proposing an intriguing hypothesis. According to Changizi, music awakens our emotions because we subconsciously link it to human movement. Our capacity to decipher emotions from the expressions and gestures of our fellow beings, coupled with our ability to empathize through shared emotional experiences, lays the foundation for this connection. In essence, when we associate music with human movement, it bridges the chasm between sound and sentiment, offering an explanation for music’s evocative power. Music becomes a proxy, a surrogate for genuine human motion.

Read More : Harmony Unveiled: The Intrinsic Artistry of Music

A cursory exploration of our visual depictions of music affirms this subconscious association. A simple online image search for “musical notes” reveals countless depictions of these notes in perpetual motion. The collective human psyche, as Changizi posits, has interwoven music with movement—a perceptual framework that helps explain the profound emotional resonance that music achieves.

In the lexicon of our musical discourse, phrases like “music moves us” and the terminology of a musical composition comprising “movements” subtly bear witness to Changizi’s profound insight. In essence, music’s ability to stir our souls is intrinsically tied to our capacity to envision motion within its auditory tapestry—a testament to the symbiotic relationship between human emotions and the mesmerizing cadence of music.