MUSIC AND EMOTION
“Music can be thought of as a type of perceptual illusion, much the same way in which a collage is perceived. The brain imposes structure and order on a sequence of sounds that, in effect, creates an entirely new system of meaning. The appreciation of music is tied to the ability to process its underlying structure — the ability to predict what will occur next in the song. But this structure has to involve some level of the unexpected, or it becomes emotionally devoid.” – M.Mohana
The study of Music and Emotion endeavours to understand the psychological relationship between human affect and music. It is a branch of music psychology with numerous areas of study, including the nature of emotional reactions to music, how characteristics of the listener may determine which emotions are felt, and which components of a musical composition or performance may elicit certain reactions. It is these certain reactions of emotion we wish to visually depict through the production of our creative robot.
Music visualisation is a feature found in media player software, which generates animated imagery based on a piece of music. The imagery is usually generated and rendered in real time and in a way synchronized with the music as it is played.
Visualization techniques can range from simple to elaborate ones, which often include multiple composited effects. The changes in the music’s loudness and frequency spectrum are among the properties used as input to the visualization.
Our robot will take each of the structural features of music into physical account to visually process the underlying structure of each piece of music.
Tempo – Tempo is the speed or pace of a musical piece. Studies indicate an association between fast tempo and happiness or excitement (or even anger). Slow tempo may be associated with sadness or serenity.
Mode – Mode, in a piece often indicates happiness or sadness. Major tonality often conveys happiness or joy, while minor tonality is associated with sadness.
Loudness – Loudness, or the physical strength and amplitude of a sound, may be perceived as intensity, power, or anger; while soft music is associated with, sadness, or fear. Rapid changes in loudness may connote playfulness or pleading, whereas few or no changes can indicate peace and sadness.
Melody – In melody, a wide range of notes can imply joy, whimsicality, or uneasiness; a narrow range suggests tranquillity, sadness, or triumph. Consonant, or complementing harmonies, are connected with feelings of happiness, relaxation, or serenity; or clashing harmonies may imply excitement, anger, or unpleasantness.
Rhythm – Rhythm is the regularly recurring pattern or beat of a song. A smooth, consistent rhythm may be associated with happiness and peace. A rough, irregular rhythm may be associated with amusement and uneasiness, while varied rhythm implies joy.
LOW FIDELITY CONCEPTUALISATION
The concept for our project is the production of a creative robot that visually depicts the emotion of music. The interactive aspect of the robot is the user’s selection and input of a chosen piece of music – the chosen piece of music would be a subconscious reflection of the current mindset and cultural background of the user/participant.
It has been proven, that music creates emotion in the listener because we associate the sound with movement. Since we’re able to deduce emotion from expressions and movements; our robot will act as an intermediary stand-in for real human movement. It is this continuous action that will produce the artwork.
Although our robot is only in its initial stages of conceptualisation, specific features of the robot include a music input device; that would directly connect the music player to the robot for immediate and constant decoding. The decoded music would uniquely determine the way in which the gear operated robot would move, and the shape, size and colouring of the artwork. The geared arms would symbolically mimic those of human arms and express a sense of human-like movement.
EXPLORING A MARK MAKING PRACTICE
The main reason for this test was to determine the methods of creating visualisations of the chosen recorded music. The mark making form had to be one that would constantly and uniquely identify mode, loudness, melody, rhythm and tempo. Through extensive research, we came to the conclusion that the creation of guilloche patterns would be the most ideal way in which to evoke the emotion of music.
Nowadays, the characteristic of the Guilloché Pattern are still very precise and intricate yet, at the same time, very simple. It is a repetitive pattern that mainly consists of intersecting or overlapping spirals or other shapes creating an interwoven design. Besides the craft-makers, Guilloché is now a term often used by designers such as architects and are commonly seen on a variety of pieces. It is engraved on jewellery and watches, erected on stones or wood for architecture and printed on bank notes or certificates to protect against forged copies.
PROTOTYPING – SKETCH
The pattern used for this test is the infinite symbol however drawn vertically. How this test was conducted was by drawing in a repetitive motion of the infinite symbol then rotating the page clockwise. Throughout the whole test the pattern did not move positions it was the page that was doing the main work. From this test, we established one way of motion to create a guilloche patterns therefore can result to initial concepts basing around this procedure.
PROTOTYPING – PAPER
Once we had a strong basis on the direction we were going to take with the concept, we had to explore the ways in which we would visualize emotion to its full extent, which means we had to delve into the material variables which could make or break a robot that utilises a mark-making practice.
We gathered a variety of mark making tools such as charcoal, pencils, ball point pens, permanent markers with different tip types such as chisel tip. Testing out these tools allowed us to find out which would cater to the needs of the concept.
The needs of the concept required a tool that was robust in the fact that the robot will be continuously moving with the music.
Breakdown of tools utilised:
Charcoal – good granular effect, however not consistent as movement is applied.
Mechanical pencil – fine line effect, however if moved fast the led may snap/concept may have problems with pressing button for more led.
Standard pencil – stable pressure is required to get desired lines, however after extended use the pencil may blunt and alter the desired effect.
Standard ball point pen – consistent with movement, however considerable pressure will need to be applied.
Lumocolor – not much pressure needed, consistent and doesn’t stagger when moved.
Gel pen – moved fluidly along the page.
Fine liner – With a long felt tip this stagged along the page when moved fast, yet gave a strong bold effect.
Chisel tip permanent marker – when moved, it alters the line thickness.
Standard permanent market – jittered across the page when moved.
We found that the Lumocolor pen was the most consistent and best option for the concept, however we will also need to look into what materials which would be drawn on, as they will be a major factor in the design also, also colour is another aspect which we had delved into.