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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!
Here we are, just days before the Midterm elections and I’m fighting the urge to tune out. Yep, I’ve had it.
People who know me well, know that I love politics and debate about policy, etc. I’ve been active in political campaigns both local and national…worked tirelessly up until the last vote was counted…but this year I’m definitely feeling the effect of what may go down in history as the most contentius of election seasons. If you doubt it, listen to NPR’s story that aired this morning on the relative truth of this year’s political ads.
The endless negative ads, the robo calls at all hours, the tsunami of fundraising emails have worn me down. And if you listen closely to the campaign rhetoric and the media accounts of this election cycle, you’d think we should rename our country “The Divided States of America.”
I’ll be traveling on election day so I’ve already cast my absentee ballot…which was a nightmare in and of itself for a number of reasons. But I’ll spare you the details. So I’m essentially done. Maybe a few last “get out the vote” calls, but no more contributions, no more attention to untrue political ads. It’s over.
I hope that when all is said and done that, as a country, we’ll pause and take a slow, deep breath and stop to consider how extreme this election cycle has been and its true effects – beyond that of simply getting any one candidate elected over another. How many votes will be cast on Tuesday based on a candidate’s actual stand on public policy?
State and national political parties, and candidates in 2012 – you’re on notice: I, for one, expect better from you next time around. Our democratic process has been on shaky ground since the 2000 presidential election and this year has seen the worst. Clean up your act – the American people deserve…and expect better!