Music & arousal (Eliot Handelman )

Subject: Music & arousal
From:    Eliot Handelman  <eliot(at)GENERATION.NET>
Date:    Wed, 3 Jun 1998 12:29:53 -0500

> Dan Ellis: > > Dr. Al Bregman said you might be able to help me, or at least send out a > post on your "auditory" e-mail list. I'm involved in a discussion over > the topic of "rock music". It's being said that the syncopated beats of > rock music create physiological desires for sex and violence which > completely offsets any altruistic message that a rock song might > contain. Does this reasoning have any credence whatsoever? My > understanding is that, apart from the lyrics, music's effect on thoughts > and moods vary greatly from person to person and culture to culture. > What is your insight on this? Do you know of any related research? > Well, I worked on the problem of sexual arousal in music off an on for about a decade, primarily physiological effects of the sort of high intensity sound used in rock, rhythmic theory, etc. I think I can say two things about this: the current level of theorization/research on these matters is more than crude; the number of people interested in such matters is negligible. Too bad. -- eliot McGill is running a new version of LISTSERV (1.8c on Windows NT). Information is available on the WEB at

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University