Daniel Levitin Shows How Musicians Communicate Emotion

Daniel J. Lev­itin, author of the best-sell­ing books This Is Your Brain On Music and The World In Six Songs, is James McGill Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­o­gy and Behav­ioral Neu­ro­science at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty in Mon­tre­al. Lev­it­in’s most recent study tries to explain how musi­cians com­mu­ni­cate emo­tion by manip­u­lat­ing the “expres­sion” of a musi­cal piece. His research shows that vari­a­tions in the tim­ing of a per­for­mance have an even greater emo­tion­al impact than do vari­a­tions in the loud­ness of play­ing. “The skilled pianist has learned to com­mu­ni­cate musi­cal emo­tion pri­mar­i­ly by mak­ing some notes longer and some short­er, some loud­er and some soft­er – just like we do in nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion.”

Don’t miss the sec­ond part of the video here.

By pro­fes­sion, Matthias Rasch­er teach­es Eng­lish and His­to­ry at a High School in north­ern Bavaria, Ger­many. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twit­ter.

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