Playing On The Emotions

My parents went to a Scottish music concert the other week there, and when I spoke to them about it, they mentioned a track that Phil Cunningham played on the accordion. It was one he had written in memory of his dead brother, and my parents said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. In fact, my dad wrote a post about it here, in which he includes a clip of Cunningham explaining the composition of the track, and discussing why it’s so emotive.

I’ve been thinking about this off and on, and so when I was on Youtube yesterday (looking for clips of violinists to show my daughter, who is currently learning the instrument), I was drawn to these three wonderful examples of music which are just brimming with emotion. In each case, the clip features a different instrument, but they all showcase truly incredible performances. See what you think:

So, which one was your favourite? Or do you prefer a different piece altogether? What do you think it is about music that evokes such strong emotions?

PS I added a 2nd item to the prize draw bundles – click here to check it out!


March 6, 2008. Creativity, Inspiration.


  1. Penelope Anne replied:

    I am partial to the violin but that is because I played in the orchestra. Acoustical music is so emotional for me, better to me.
    Oh, I hope you put tasty treats in those baskets.
    I got chocolates from The Netherlands and Switzerland from a pal last week and wow! Just an idea.
    Me, I’d love a prize, but a letter will do too….yes, I am a pest šŸ™‚

  2. mrschili replied:

    The improv pianist was, by far, my favorite. I’m in awe of her ability to come up with a gorgeous piece from five notes, and to come up with a piece that is so rich and multi-layered.

    It makes me wish that I knew how to read/play music…

  3. nengaku replied:

    How can I pick a favorite among those? It’s like comparing apples to oranges. I was VERY impressed with the Korean woman and her improvised piano piece mostly because I have some idea the combination of knowledge, skill, and art that goes into that. The Debussy piece is just such a lovely piece and that violinist did it so well. And to compare those with the guitar piece on the Japanese station just isn’t fair. Guitar is in a class by itself.
    I think the answer to the question of why music touches us so deeply goes to mysteries as fundamental as nine months in the womb listening to our mother’s heartbeat and vibrations that resonate with specific frequencies that are involved in our brain processes. Personally I hope we NEVER understand it.
    Thank you for sharing those three performances. They nearly had me in tears.

  4. amypalko replied:

    I love acoustic too, Penelope Anne. My daughter has just been playing the violin but she is just loving it. It helps that she has such a wonderful teacher who is as enthusiastic as he is patient. Oh, and edible treats are most definitely on the agenda šŸ™‚

    She is just incredible, isn’t she, Mrschili? And in that clip, which is from 2006, she is only 14. I could have a lifetime of lessons and never even approach a tenth of that talent. Truly awe-inspiring!

    I know, Nengaku, I did set a rather hard task asking you to choose, didn’t I? Also, I think you are quite right that the reason why music moves us in ways we are unable to control, is ultimately a beautiful mystery. Oh, and if they only ‘nearly’ had you in tears, you were doing well, as I had tears running down my cheeks!

  5. isabella mori replied:

    thank you for this beautiful post! it was quite serendipitous – i just left a comment on someone else’s blog about bringing emotions into our conversations.

    listening to this music brings up something that has me thinking quite a bit lately.

    there is so much beauty on the internet. this music, beautiful photographs, fascinating art work, great poetry, books online … and i find that if it isn’t presented in a way that really, really tickles my fancy (in your case it was your close-up photographs of fabric, something that always catches my eye) i won’t pay attention to it.

    in a way, i find this quite shocking. there is so much soul, effort, craft and beauty in all this work, and yet in 95% of the cases, i just cast it aside. i wish there was a way i could pay tribute to all those artists i never make it to …

  6. amypalko replied:

    Hey, Isabella, I’m glad my blog caught your eye and you decided to stick around šŸ™‚
    I think you’ve put your finger on both the wonderful and the woeful thing about the internet. There is so much out there to discover, but unfortunately, like you say, it’s impossible to appreciate it all.
    However, that said, you are more than welcome to make return visits here šŸ˜‰

  7. commenting is writing, too replied:

    […] and ā€“ oh, wow! i just had to check something on twitter (this being friday, i needed to change my avatar to show that iā€™m a pea-ple person) and caught an announcement by one of my new twitter friends, amy palko about a blog post featuring three beautiful music videos. talk about emotions! […]

  8. happiness - a group writing project replied:

    […] lives less ordinary […]

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