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What Makes Music Beautiful?

Different cultures have different takes on what makes music beautiful.

Conyach, a term used by the Scottish travellers, is a quality of music that inspires strong emotional response in listeners. Salsa, as in salsa music, is used to describe musical wildness and ecstatic frenzy. Duende is a mysterious and difficult-to-translate term from Spanish music (especially the flamenco tradition), implying primal force, struggle, emotion, expression, fierceness and authenticity. Ma, from Japan, refers to the sensual beauty that derives from the space between events.

Many cultures ascribe great beauty to the evocation of melancholy in music. Sakit Hati is an Indonesian term that denotes a sense of wistful longing and sadness. Dor, associated with the doina music of Romania, is a “pleasant feeling of melancholy”. Blues is an African American quality of music that expresses melancholy, loneliness, and tragedy. Tezeta is an Ethiopian musical term, evocative of melancholy, nostalgia, and bittersweet longing.

Saudade is a Portuguese term that refers to a mood: “a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness, but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.”

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 9:48 am by rachmiel · Permalink