Here's an interesting problem:
A friend of mine is trying to conduct an experiment in which she wants to induce negative moods / states using music. More specifically she's trying to induce anger by playing a short piece of music for an experimental subject. The question, is of course, what piece to pick.
Like any good PhD student, the first thing I thought of was: what does the literature say? Apparently people have done negative mood inductions before, but don't seem to have done anger much. Besides the standard piece to induce negative mood is apparently Barber's Adagio for Strings, and my friend finds (not surprisingly) that that doesn't even necessarily induce sadness (as the literature claims it does) in the subjects she's pre-tested it on. They think it's beautiful, but not necessarily sad.
No matter, I say at this point, why don't we just play Death Metal. No one could possibly listen to that and not get anger or aggression. The trouble is: a) it needs to be instrumental, otherwise you get a confounding effect of the words of the song and b) she wants it to be classical because her other manipulation (the one for positive mood) is classical and she doesn't want her experiment to be contaminated by issues of what genre of music people like.
Obviously, point a) above also pretty much rules out Opera, so all the suggestions about Wagner, etc. that I was about to get into pretty much fly out of the window.
So. The bottomline is that we need a suggestion for a piece of instrument classical music that will induce anger in pretty much any person who listens to it. Any thoughts?
P.S. As of now, my friend is toying with playing Schoenberg / atonal music in general. She figures it'll at least irritate people, even if it doesn't make them angry.
Categories: Personal, Arts