Generic Questionnaire

Valerie Saint-Martin, Classical singer & Harpist

  • Please briefly state where you would culturally situate your own musical background.

  • Classical/ Opera

  • Do you venture outside of those cultural walls, if so where to?

  • Yes definitely. I do not see any walls.

  • Do you play any instrument, sing or dance?

  • I studied classical ballet, I play the harp and I sing

  • Did you grow up with music around you, or around the home?

  • I grew up in an environment where music was always present. Both my parents loved music and my dad is a great pianist who can play anything by ear. We did not have television growing up and I grew up bathed in Bach, Rachmaninov, Ravel and The Beatles music amongst many others!

  • Please relate your first memorable encounter with music, as a listener/dancer/singer/musician.

  • As I mentioned, as far as I can remember, music was always part of my life growing up. I have so many memories linked to music. I particularly remember dancing to Beethoven Pastoral Symphony in our living room!

  • How often do you listen to music (at your own initiative)?

  • When I feel like it.

  • Where do you most often prefer to listen to music?

  • I do not have any preferences

  • What time of the day are you more likely to do so?

  • Perhaps evenings

  • Which style or musical tradition would that listening experience fit within?

  • It really depends on my moods, who I am with.

  • Generally-speaking or in details, please describe which emotional impacts this listening experience will have on your psyche (/mood).

  • Music has a huge emotional impact on me. It is very hard for me not to dance or move my body when I listen to music and it always lifts my spirit,  boosts my imagination and creativity.

  • Which is guiltiest musical pleasure, and why?

  • When I like a particular musical passage in a piece of music, I tend to listen to it over and over in an almost obsessive way and I feel a bit guilty about it, a bit like someone who is addicted to chocolate and can’t stop going back for more!

  • Would this latter be enjoyed alone, with other people or animals?

  • Alone obviously. I would not want to inflict this on anybody!

  • Which pieces most relate romantic feelings, in your opinion?

  • Personally, I think Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky music is highly romantic as well as Wagner’s music, like The Flying Dutchman

  • In your opinion, which composition is the most spiritually-inspiring, be it so-called sacred music or otherwise?

  • I think the essence of music itself is spiritual.

  • Which music piece do you find most irritating, and why?

  • Not sure since I only listen to music I like

  • Which music brings on aggressive instincts, and do you know why?

  • This is a question for a scientist but it is a fact that our environment including what music we listen to has a huge impact on our behaviour and on how we feel.

  • On a desert island, which piece of music would you most likely take with you, and why?

  • That’s a tough one…Happy music, perhaps Gershwin Cuban Overture or his Concerto in F and some Wagner too!

  • Do you like to associate visual experiences with musical moments? Please elaborate, briefly or otherwise.

  • Yes, I do that all the time naturally. I think most people do.

  • Which noises bring on feelings of peace and reassurance?

  • The sound of the ocean, the wind and the birds singing

  • Which ones bring on tensions, in your own experience?

  • Loud, high pitch sounds, TV commercials!

  • Anxiety relief: which are your Top 5 most relaxing pieces of music?

1 being the most, 5 the least.

Mozart Piano Concerto no 21 – 2nd movement

Satie – Gymnopédies

Debussy Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

  • As a listener, who is your favourite composer, and why?

  • I love so many composers! Listening to Gershwin’s music makes me happy!

Graham M., Psychotherapist, viola & piano player, published poet.

Please briefly state where you would culturally situate your own musical background.

Basically Western European Classical Music.

Do you venture outside of those cultural walls, if so where to?

Yes, if something stirs my interest. This might be into Indian and oriental music, folk as well as Sufi and Ancient Greek.

Do you play any instrument, sing or dance?

I play viola (occasionally in an orchestra) and piano. I have sung in a local variety performing group, though mainly in the chorus.

Did you grow up with music around you, or around the home?

Yes. I was encouraged to take instrumental lessons and join orchestras. I had some classical recordings available and some were bought for me as gifts. Later I was taken

to concerts and operas.

Please relate your first memorable encounter with music, as a listener/dancer/singer/musician.

As listener probably listening to a recording of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto which my parents owned. That said I had heard music on TV, radio etc, and even had some small records before though of nursery rhymes etc. The above concerto is the one that really stirred me as well as reading about it.

As player it was having piano lessons.

How often do you listen to music (at your own initiative)?

Almost daily on the radio or playing my recording collection.

Where do you most often prefer to listen to music?

Usually at home in my room.

What time of the day are you more likely to do so?

Usually evenings.

Which style or musical tradition would that listening experience fit within?

Generally Western classical (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven up to contemporary like Stockhausen) and performers of it. I am a classical recording buff. But I also may venture into jazz, rock, new age and even some music of other cultures such as Indian, Asian etc

Generally speaking or in details, please describe which emotional impacts this listening experience will have on your psyche (/mood).

Generally, I find music either relaxing or uplifting. Some pieces especially and this may also relate to the performer. The effect can carry on for sometimes afterwards. If I go to a concert I am often thinking about it for a few days after.

Which is guiltiest musical pleasure, and why?

Generally more popular or “kitsch” music, because I may feel judged for enjoying it.

Would this latter be enjoyed alone, with other people or animals?

Can be all three.

Which pieces most relate romantic feelings, in your opinion?

Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde,” his Siegfried Idyll and the Adagietto to Mahler’s 5th Symphony.

In your opinion, which composition is the most spiritually inspiring, be it so-called sacred music or otherwise?

Probably the final section (Chorus Mysticus) from Mahler’s 8th Symphony.

Though the Chaconne from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, Wagner’s Parsifal and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis are near.

Which music piece do you find most irritating, and why?

Can’t think of a specific piece, but generally Christmas songs sung by crooners when “piped though” in shopping malls.

Which music brings on aggressive instincts, and do you know why?

Loud aggressive music from any genre played when I am tired.

On a desert island, which piece of music would you most likely take with you, and why?

Beethoven Violin Concerto sublime and tranquil fist movement are always uplifting. The slow movement always moves me, it’s a place where the phrase “music is the space between the notes” most applies. The final rondo always gets my feet tapping and even makes me want to dance.

If I were to take a recording it would be the one played by Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin’s sublime and intensely spiritual playing seems to get this work just right.

Do you like to associate visual experiences with musical moments? Please elaborate, briefly or otherwise.

Not really, though sometimes I recall parts of pieces of music in response to events. I can’t recall a specific instance, but it does happen.

Which noises bring on feelings of peace and reassurance?

Peace: Generally soft music played by strings.

Reassurance: As well as gentle consoling music sometimes it can also be rousing music. Beethoven’s 7th Symphony has both. The slow movement is sublime in the way it subtly builds to a climax. The other movements are examples that just get me up and want to dance.

Which ones bring on tensions, in your own experience?

Harsh percussive music, electrical instruments and loud music. But there are also times when I can listen to these. It depends also on my mood when I hear it.

In your loneliest hour, what or whom do you listen to?

In terms of composers it would either be Beethoven or Mahler. A number of pieces. Beethoven’s 5th, 7th and 9th Symphonies, his late piano sonatas and quartets and the violin sonatas. Mahler’s 1st, 2nd, 5th Symphonies They are the composers who I most identify with, tough Bach’s instrumental work is also a factor. The pieces by Bach especially the 6th Brandenburg Concerto and the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin.

But this can also include performers. Leonard Bernstein and Yehudi Menuhin are ones I turn to when feeling lonely. Menuhin especially. I remember a time when I was in hospital and had been diagnosed as a diabetic and feeling miserable. I was in a ward of mainly older people and there had been a death. I put on my Walkman his recording of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto and it was as if he stepped through his tone on the violin to say things are not so bad and will get better.

Anxiety relief: which are your Top 5 most relaxing pieces of music?

1 being the most, 5 the least.

1.    Beethoven Violin Concerto.

2.    Mahler Adagietto from Symphony No 5

3.    Debussy Prelude a l’apres midi d’une faune

4.    Liszt Consolation

5.    Bach Brandenburg Concerto No 6

As a listener, who is your favourite composer, and why?

Beethoven because of both the reflectiveness in is slow movements and the drama. Also the variety of forms he excelled (symphonies, choral, chamber, his opera) in makes him for me one of the most exiting composers and the one who had the most to say.

Listening exercise:

Suite Gothique Boellmann https://vimeo.com/110654524 Toccata, Op.25

Following the encounter with the above piece, please describe (as best as you can, but as briefly or extensively as you wish):

Your personal emotional journey as incurred by the piece.

How the music brought personal life events to your conscious mind.

How the composition brought to memory scenes from motion pictures, or from TV productions. Please elaborate.

How the piece brought to your conscious mind, famous historic or cultural events. Please describe.

 

I can’t say the music brought many memories personal or film, apart from at one point reminding myself of the Monty Python “Blackmail” sketch where there is an organ used. Visually I was more aware of the organist and his page tuner, and movements of hands and feet (I have once or twice played an organ and in that it reminded me of the names of the keyboards and pedal techniques).

Musically I was tapping my feet from about 30 seconds in, feeling a pulse. My head started nodding, and I started to move my hands conducting. The beat stayed with me at even afterwards. The piece I found happy and uplifting. I felt immersed in the sound.

Susan C., Retired language teacher

• In your opinion, which composition is the most spiritually-inspiring, be it so-called sacred music or otherwise?

‘HINE E HINE’ BY HAYLEY WESTENRA (SHE HAS SUCH A PURE VOICE)

• Which music piece do you find most irritating, and why?

JAZZ (NOT BRUBECK OR BEIDERBECK) - I JUST DON’T ‘GET’ IT

• Which music brings on aggressive instincts, and do you know why?

MOST CURRENT POP SONGS. MAKE ME WANT TO PUNCH A FEW OF THE PERFORMERS IN THE FACE- EG BIEBER, L’IL KIM,  KANYE WEST ETC. THEY COME ACROSS AS ENTITLED

• On a desert island, which piece of music would you most likely take with you, and why?

SOUNDTRACK OF ‘PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT’ - PRODUCES VARIED EMOTIONS

• Do you like to associate visual experiences with musical moments? Please elaborate, briefly or otherwise.

RATHER LIKE BOOKS V FILMS, VIDEOS PERMIT A DIFFERENT INTERPRETATION OF A PIECE OF MUSIC

• Which noises bring on feelings of peace and reassurance?

CHILDRENS’ LAUGHTER

MUSICALLY - VIOLINS AND PIANO

• Which ones bring on tensions, in your own experience?

DISONANT SOUNDS - BACKING TO HORROR FILMS

• In your loneliest hour, what or whom do you listen to?

AUDIO BOOKS (my loneliness is due to lack of companionship - haven’t spoken to another human for 5 days)

• Anxiety relief: which are your Top 5 most relaxing pieces of music?

1 being the most, 5 the least.

• As a listener, who is your favourite composer, and why?

PROKOFIEV, GERSHWIN, RACHMANINOFF

• Listening exercise:

Suite Gothique Boellmann https://vimeo.com/110654524 Toccata, Op.25

Following the encounter with the above piece, please describe (as best as you can, but as briefly or extensively as you wish): A LITTLE FORBODING OF UNKNOWN TO BEGIN WITH THEN A JOURNEY OF UPS AND DOWNS, A BIT LIKE WALKING ON HILLY GROUND AND SEEING THE LANDSCAPE FROM EACH PEAK

Your personal emotional journey as incurred by the piece.

How the music brought personal life events to your conscious mind. REMINDS ME OF HILL-WALKING IN THE WELSH MOUNTAINS - TIRING, BUT THE ANTICIPATION OF THE NEXT VIEW KEEPS YOU GOING

How the composition brought to memory scenes from motion pictures, or from TV productions. Please elaborate. IT DIDN’T

How the piece brought to your conscious mind, famous historic or cultural events. Please describe. SORRY, BUT IT DIDN’T. IT MORE PERSONAL MEMORIES

Daniel, classical musician

1) Sadness       Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6, last movement

2) Fear             Schumann, “Zwielicht”, from Liederkreis op. 39

3) Joy               Schumann, “Frühlingsnacht” from Liederkreis op. 39

4) Loss             Rachmaninoff, Symphony No. 2, third movement

5) Excitement  Schumann, Piano Quintet op. 44, first movement

6) Passion        Schubert, “Gretchen am Spinnrade”

Andrea, composer
  • Please briefly state where you would culturally situate your own musical background.

  • Do you venture outside of those cultural walls, if so where to?

I have had experiences with various musical styles: popular music, jazz, but my main interest is in cultured music even if in my compositions I can appear musical elements coming from extra European musical cultures.

  • Do you play any instrument, sing or dance?

I can play the piano (also keyboard),organ and clarinet but  I also studied harpsichord.

  • Did you grow up with music around you, or around the home?

I grew up listening to music especially at primary school.

  • Please relate your first memorable encounter with music, as a listener/dancer/singer/musician.

My first memorable encounter with music it was with listening to the "rite of spring" when I was 10 years old: the other students they were almost annoyed while I was ecstatic.

  • How often do you listen to music (at your own initiative)?

I listen music every day in the car, through the radio and I often go to concerts (expecially early music concerts).

  • Where do you most often prefer to listen to music?

  • What time of the day are you more likely to do so?

I listen to music usually after dinner, and I like listening to musical genres far from each other, for example I go from Bach to jazz and from traditional music to progressive rock.

  • Which style or musical tradition would that listening experience fit within?

  • Generally-speaking or in details, please describe which emotional impacts this listening experience will have on your psyche (/mood).

My psyche is positively influenced by music, but the thing that I think is most interesting is that when I listen to music I imagine landscapes.

 

  • Which is guiltiest musical pleasure, and why?

  • Would this latter be enjoyed alone, with other people or animals?

  • Which pieces most relate romantic feelings, in your opinion?
    My opinion is that every music can be associated with romantic feelings, but in my opinion the most romantic music of all is J.Brahms's clarinet quintet.

 

  • In your opinion, which composition is the most spiritually-inspiring, be it so-called sacred music or otherwise?

For me the most spiritually-inspiring is the Bach's music, because in this music there are some elements that elevate the physicality of music into metaphysics.

 

  • Which music piece do you find most irritating, and why?

  • Which music brings on aggressive instincts, and do you know why?

  • On a desert island, which piece of music would you most likely take with you, and why?

If I were in a On a desert island I'd take the art of fugue with me.

  • Do you like to associate visual experiences with musical moments? Please elaborate, briefly or otherwise.

In my experience, music is almost always associated with images: for example I composed some pieces inspired by a glacier https://youtu.be/xrHc15scpbU  that I visited, and some pieces inspired by a mountains.

This is something that happens naturally and spontaneously, I see a landscape and          often music comes to mind.

  • Which noises bring on feelings of peace and reassurance?

The noises that relate to feelings of peace and reassurance are linked to the wind of the mountains, the water of the streams and other sounds of nature.

 

  • Which ones bring on tensions, in your own experience?

  • In your loneliest hour, what or whom do you listen to?

  • Anxiety relief: which are your Top 5 most relaxing pieces of music?

1 being the most, 5 the least.

The my top 5 most relaxing pieces of music are:

  1. J.S Bach: “Aria” from Goldberg variations

  2. J.S Bach : motet BWV 229

  3. J.S Bach : soprano's aria form cantata BWV 115

  4. Mozart: first moviment from clarinet quintet

  5. Beethoven: second moviment from violin sonata “spring” op.24

 

  • As a listener, who is your favourite composer, and why?

My favourite composer is J.S Bach because in our music  because in his music I find a balance between mathematics and affects, and his music can be played with many different instruments so I consider it an absolute music.

Questionnaire devised by Sandrine Anterrion

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