Over the course of our day, we're exposed to countless sounds in our environments and routines that we may or may not pay active attention to. Some of these sounds are expected results of deliberate physical actions (e.g.: pulling keys out of your pocket produces a jingle) and others are uncontrollable occurrences specific to a given environment (e.g.: waves crashing on the beach).
Ivan Pavlov demonstrated that repeated exposure to a given sound prompts our minds to associate it with the particular physical or emotional state most frequently experienced when exposed to it.
Associative Music is a style of music that evokes those developed emotional and physical reactions to sound in tandem with the power of melody and rhythm.
When Pavlov would serve food to his dog, he'd ring a bell to get it's attention. After a few times, ringing the bell would cause the dog to salivate with or without food in front of it. This bell illicited a psychological response from the dog (expecting to find food near the bell) as well as a physical one (actually drooling).
Though we are a slightly more developed species, the paired reaction between sounds and expectations still applies to us (watch a bored middleschooler react when surprised by the school bell at the end of class).
The intentions of Associative Music are two-fold:
- To harness the psychological and visceral properties of sounds native to non-musical environments.
- To adapt and shape the aforementioned sourced sounds, so as to discreetly reference their origins without interfering with (or distracting from) the melodies they are being used to create. Disguise the origin of the sound.
Recordings should not be restricted to the human ear's limitations. There are plenty of sounds beyond our audible range that affect us as well (humans can't see UV rays with their naked eyes but the effects can be quite pronounced on our skin). Sounds at frequencies or decibel levels beyond our audible limitations should be amplified, slowed down or pitched up to allow us the privilege of experiencing them in an Associative Music context.
↓ Keys or Bookmarks to Vital Information on Associative Music ↓
Why listen to Associative Music?
Its the next evolutionary step in the human's creative and emotional experience. If a mood is paired up with a sound and said sound is transformed into a musical composition (which already aims to create a different mood), the culmination will result in an exponentially more powerful and diverse feeling, the likes of which you would never be able to achieve otherwise...
I'm a musician, why should I make Associative Music?
Associative Music provides you with the utmost control and versatility in production. Everything is at your disposal. The entire world is your instrument and it will never conflict with your compositions.
In the future (when all of us are dead and gone) this music will not only serve as an indication of what our compositions sounded like, it will also showcase the sounds we valued and interacted with. Some sounds are generational and some are timeless.
Doesn't this already exist?
For the better part of a century, producers have incorporated recordings of non-instrument based audio into their compositions. Recordings of locations have been used as soundscapes (e.g.: ambient or mood music), tools and objects have been utilized in attempts at quirky attempts humor (e.g.: see Spike Jones, Frank Zappa). Since the advent of the sampler (a couple decades ago), musicians have occasionally transformed non-instrument recordings into syncopated rhythms, but the outcome always showcases the source of the recording, demasking it's purpose and turning it into quirk.
Is it okay for children to listen to Associative Music? I don't want them to get brainwashed.
Children exposed to Associative Music at an early age run the risk of leading creative lives. The style of music stimulates all of our senses, including our sense of thought.