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「全米が泣いた!」に惹かれる理由

 
日本人シリーズ第二弾はニューヨークタイムズにご自身の研究を発表された川上愛客員研究員です。

GRAY MATTER
Why We Like Sad Music
By AI KAWAKAMI
Published: September 20, 2013

このエッセイは以下のような問題設定から始まります。

SADNESS is an emotion we usually try to avoid. So why do we choose to listen to sad music?

Musicologists and philosophers have wondered about this. Sad music can induce intense emotions, yet the type of sadness evoked by music also seems pleasing in its own way. Why? Aristotle famously suggested the idea of catharsis: that by overwhelming us with an undesirable emotion, music (or drama) somehow purges us of it.

But what if, despite their apparent similarity, sadness in the realm of artistic appreciation is not the same thing as sadness in everyday life?

英語で読むと難しそうだと感じた方は下記の日本語での研究紹介を読んでしまうといいかもしれません。

人は、なぜ悲しい音楽を聴くのか?
30 August 2013
音楽は聴き手に「代理的な」感情をもたらすのかもしれない

このような研究はタイトルなどを聞くと魅力的ですが、問題はどのような手法で検証していくかということでしょう。その実験方法について説明しているところです。

In a study published this summer in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, my colleagues and I explored the idea that “musical emotion” encompasses both the felt emotion that the music induces in the listener and the perceived emotion that the listener judges the music to express. By isolating these two overlapping sets of emotions and observing how they related to each other, we hoped to gain a better understanding of sad music.

Forty-four people served as participants in our experiment. We asked them to listen to one of three musical excerpts of approximately 30 seconds each. The excerpts were from Mikhail Glinka’s “La Séparation” (F minor), Felix Blumenfeld’s “Sur Mer” (G minor) and Enrique Granados’s “Allegro de Concierto” (C sharp major, though the excerpt was in G major, which we transposed to G minor).

We were interested in the minor key because it is canonically associated with sad music, and we steered clear of well-known compositions to avoid interference from any personal memories related to the pieces.








「問題設定→検証」ときたので、さしあたっての考えを表明しているところが以下です。

When listening to sad music, then, there is a tension, or slippage, between the two types of emotions. How are we to understand this gap?

One answer might be that in everyday life we typically experience emotions that have a direct connection to whatever object or situation gives rise to them. But when we listen to sad music (or watch a sad movie, or read a sad novel), we are inoculated from any real threat or danger that the music (or movie or novel) represents.

If this is true, what we experience when we listen to sad music might be thought of as “vicarious emotions.” Here, there is no object or situation that induces emotion directly, as in regular life. Instead, the vicarious emotions are free from the essential unpleasantness of their genuine counterparts, while still drawing force from the similarity between the two.

We need to study vicarious emotions further. In doing so, we may be able to improve our understanding of a neglected feature of our emotional system — namely, its sensitivity to something other than palpable needs or threats. When we weep at the beauty of sad music, we experience a profound aspect of our emotional selves that may contain insights about the meaning and significance of artistic experience — and also about ourselves as human beings.

vicariousについては自分も辞書で調べました(汗)

(オックスフォード)
vicarious
felt or experienced by watching or reading about someone else doing something, rather than by doing it yourself
He got a vicarious thrill out of watching his son score the winning goal.

(ロングマン)
vicarious
experienced by watching or reading about someone else doing something, rather than by doing it yourself
vicarious pleasure/satisfaction/excitement etc
the vicarious pleasure that parents get from their children's success

今読み始めた本は「泣く」ことに人類の特徴を見出そうとしているもので、ニーチェの悲劇論から始まり、脳のメカニズムにも触れているものです。



Why Humans Like to Cry
The anguished tear, a British scientist argues in a new book, is what makes us uniquely human
By Gareth Cook

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