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shadling21's avatar

Can electronic music make you cry?

Asked by shadling21 (6491points) February 20th, 2010

I stumbled upon a podcast on this topic (from the “Stuff from the B-Side” series by HowStuffWorks.com) and was shocked at how quickly the speakers agreed that electronic music can’t make you cry. These guys admitted that works by artists like Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk are very moving, but that it was the human element that made the difference.

I think the first problem is their definition of “electronic music”. They seem to be equating it with MIDI files or altered recordings of instruments.

The way I see it, all electronic music is created in some way by a human. Some philosophers claim that electronic instruments lack human warmth. But if a human plays such an instrument, can’t some of their expressiveness be detected in the music? Even if the sound structure is programmed into a computer, can’t it be programmed in such a way that it sounds organic? And even if it doesn’t sound organic, can’t such tones become acceptable to the ear over time and then evaluated for emotional or aesthetic content?

Maybe this bothers me so much because I’m emotionally attached to a lot of electronic music, including stuff as odd-sounding as 8-bit.

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15 Answers

JONESGH's avatar

Yes, absolutely. Skeptics: listen to the song All That Makes Us Human Continues by BT. It’s one of the most moving and breathtaking songs I’ve ever heard.

Grisaille's avatar

Any one work can make any one person feel anything. That is the point of art. I have no idea why someone would assume otherwise.

Sarcasm's avatar

I can’t say I’ve ever had to cry due to any music, electronic or not.

But it seems foolish to think that electronic music is not allowed to produce emotions. A keyboard is just as much of an instrument as a piano, or a guitar, or a set of drums. They just produce different noises.

And anyway, if the music is recorded and put onto a CD, or mp3 (or whatever other format), that’s going through a computer as well, and most likely tweaked on one too.
So I guess even if it’s all non-electronic instruments, if it’s put together on a computer, you can’t cry at it either.

New rule, I guess, you can only cry at live music events, with no electronics involved (No amps, no mics, no speakers, no electric guitars…).

babaji's avatar

You betcha, any music, or anything can elicit an emotional tearing.

Adagio's avatar

I don’t know about electronic music but I sure know that Muzak makes me want to cry, it is so damn awful.

DominicX's avatar

Yes, of course it can. Music is music. Most of the music that makes me cry is classical without words, so that shows that words are not needed to make music moving. To me, it’s more about the actual sound of the music. So just because the instruments are electronic does not mean the effect of the music is somehow automatically lesser.

Cruiser's avatar

Pink Floyd mastered the art of tear jerking starting with Dark Side of the Moon. They pioneered many synthesizer electronic sonic mood swinging techniques….simply the best.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Don’t let what other people say or think bother you. Even if you were the only one in the world who was able to cry listening to certain electronic music (and you’re not), it doesn’t make your feelings inspired by the music any less legitimate.

That said, I’m not a huge fan of most electronic music that I hear, but some of it that I’ve heard has absolutely done crazy things to my emotions.

gemiwing's avatar

What a way to expound their own experience to include the entire human race.

There are many electronica songs that can move me to tears. Even incredibly happy electronic music can make me cry.

Perhaps they’ve not been listening to the right kind of electronica?

PhillyCheese's avatar

Yes. Any musical artist and any musical genre can make someone cry.
If you listened to a song during a specific time of your life which made you cry, and you listened to that same song in the future, that song can be used as a psycological anchor that triggers past emotions.

downtide's avatar

I don’t think I have ever been moved to tears by any kind of music. I am sometimes moved to tears by lyrics in a song though.

PacificToast's avatar

Absolutely, if some one put their own feelings into a creation, then it can move anyone if they’re willing to be moved.

TheBot's avatar

In my opinion, most of the more emotion-inducing electronic music is found in electronica, and specifically where it intersects with post-rock. There is a LOT of overlap between the two genres. Think The American Dollar, or God is An Astronaut.

But it depends on many things, and not necessarily on whether the music is upbeat or not. I have personally cried listening to Daft Punk’s Aerodynamic epic guitar part! In my experience, tears usually take me by surprise, mostly when the music’s beauty suddenly touches me. It’s a pretty spiritual experience, but most importantly deeply subjective. It really depends on you.

I think one could cry listening to any music genre, and for a huge number of different reasons. Is the beauty of the music suddenly too much to handle? Is it the memories the music brings back? Is it because the lyrics move you? How so? Do they make you sad, or on the contrary infinitely happy? etc etc

cafien's avatar

5 words for ya buddy
Ace Da Brain – Magic Waters

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