You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.
So it is Valentine’s Day. In thinking about what to write today I had to reflect on an NPR broadcast I heard on the way home last night about the science behind Grammy Award winner Adele’s amazing music. It turns out that researchers have examined how the hit “Someone Like You” evokes an emotional response that keeps us wanting more.
The story introduced me to a musical device called an appoggiatura — from the Italian word “to lean” – a note that creates a slight dissonant sound with the main melody. Psychologist Martin Guhn explains why it works: “This generates tension in the listener. When the notes return to the anticipated melody, the tension resolves, and it feels good.” Listen to her song…the appoggiatura can be easily heard when Adele sings the word “you” in the chorus.
John Sloboda, a professor of music psychology at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, says that little vocal dip on the word “you” is the key to triggering an emotional response in a listener. The Wall Street Journal even wrote about the appoggiaturas in Adele’s song.
While I’m not qualified to debate the science of that type of musical trigger, the NPR story did get me to think about the role of music in powerful story telling. Whether by design or by accident, Adele’s music taps a deep emotional response… and it earned her 6 Grammy Awards.
So as you’re enjoying this holiday which is ALL about our emotions, think about how our emotional responses are heightened by music in the movies we watch or the advertising we see. Think of how flat most television commercials would be without a compelling soundtrack. Are you using music to help you tell your story?
Happy Valentine’s Day!