Thursday, July 05, 2007

Visceral Responses

Something that has fascinated me for a very long time has been my emotional response to external stimuli and the appropriation of any motifs that relate to that stimuli.

If, for example, certain types of music move me, is it inherently inappropriate to acknowledge that in any work without some (for want of a better word) direct 'connection' to that which lies behind the expression?

A classic example would be the violin or trumpet. Certain notes go right in under my skin and cause all sorts of havoc.

I feel confident in addressing the 'tool' (in this case, the 'instruments' or 'notes') but stall when looking at the structure around it all - the music and the performer(s).

I am aware of an often very strong visceral response to Celtic & Yiddish music. This is not always the case, but on occassion I find myself completely lost in it all. I find the idea of framing the intangible in words - a 'back story' - cold and intellectual. At the same time, I 'want' to address that response without being culturally (or otherwise) insensitive.

I am also curious as to how popular media affects my responses. If a piece of music is used in a film or in relation to an image, to what extent do I make those associations later when hearing a similar cousin? Do I 'see' and 'feel' what I felt in that 'source' experience? Is it a case of guilt by association?

This is very much evident with smell. Often I will recognise something and notice a strong emotional response. This relates to a series of memories that seem inconsequential 'historically' but are still (infrequently) recalled in great detail.

A smell of a cold roasted potato once broken, cut grass or a hole once dug.... where was that spade again!?

Enough holedigging for today!

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