The Emotional Palette of Music as a Semantic System

Vladislav E. Devutsky


The article examines the mechanisms of transmission of emotive information in the European musical tradition. The author highlights two cardinally different processes of formation of emotions in music. They are: the generation of emotional response in the sensorial system of a concrete listener directed by the impact on “the strings of his heart,” and the actual transmission of emotive information, the conductor of which was the ramified system of attributes of emotions. In the most distinct artistic form the attributes of emotions have manifested themselves in the art of the theater, presenting the main expressive instrument of the group of actors. Music is devoid of the possibility of making direct use of human emotions and acts in this direction by means of a special set of special means of musical expressivity, which in many ways is equivalent to the actors’ palette. Specifically, the attributes of emotions functioning in music may be classified in two groups: the mimetic, in which the connections of the universal attributes of emotion are discernible, and the symbolic. The latter may be transmitted only by means of the musical equivalents of the attributes of emotions. For the comprehension of the means of the first group, the universal and generally artistic experience suffices for the listener. At the same time, possession of the means of the second group is achieved only by means of long-term specialized musical education. Thereby, the transmission of emotive information in music, is perceived as a most complex semantic system, demanding from musicians and
listeners a longstanding accumulation of musical experience.

Keywords: emotive information in music, attributes of emotions, musical equivalents of attributes of emotions.

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