Measuring mood

August 21, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

I don’t know about you but I am pretty clear that for me, my mood impacts my connection to music.

And while it’s true music can change my mood, it’s also true that I tend to choose what music I listen to according to my emotional wants and needs.

If I am sad, music can pick up my spirits.

While I am always in the mood for some music (when would I not swoon upon hearing Mozart’s ‘Soave sia il vento‘ from Così fan Tutte?), for many pieces of music of differing genres I have to be in the right frame of mind to form a consistent intimate bond.

I don’t think we can measure mood, but we know it when we’re in the right one.

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38 comments on “Measuring mood”

  1. We can’t even measure the for me most important final step of high end. The goal when everything snaps in and a really holographic, airy enveloping imaging establishes. Besides depending on equipment potential, the hit and miss can depend just on a missing very exact speaker placement and orientation. Everything else is the same then and only this decides about 100% more fun.

    If we can’t even measure quite everything about soundstaging and imaging…what except having some basics right (and that’s for sure important), is measuring worth at all? We can’t even be sure that equipment which otherwise measures best, is also best in imaging…we just can find out which single measuring parameters stimulate it for a certain part.

    Those having measuring results as a main and primarily determining focus, ignoring most of the rest, are probably missing most of what’s achievable. That we also can’t measure mood, then is just another proportionate influence, but to consider mood imo is just important for music reviewers, us others in this case just go for a walk instead 😉

  2. To take it one step further: I have days that I don’t play music at all, because I don’t enjoy it. In my early 20’s (in the army), I used to go weekly to a record shop to buy an album. It was possible to listen to tracks. Here I learned that if I wasn’t in the right mood: don’t make the mistake to buy one, because I would regret it. Not in the mood for music? Spend your time otherwise!

  3. I never thought about it quite the way you put it, Paul. But true it is. I love a variety of musical genres and often cycle briefly through a few before I play a piece in a genre that just clicks with my present mood.

  4. And that is one convincing argument for PC music.
    What do I fancy? I know! Choose from plenty of CDs available at the proverbial press of a button.

    Paul I’m sorry you gave up on jRiver.
    Do have another go it’s worth going through the options as listed in a file many years ago in computeraudiophile.

    That file is now at
    “JRiver media center 17 in detail”.

    its settings from way back there will get you going.

  5. The fun thing is, good high end extends the approach to music.

    I not only listen to music when I want to dig a certain genre or album, I start listening to music when I dig the experience of an intimate connection to a performance…and then it’s not so important what it is. It’s rather like if I dig to attend a concert…I then look for one, regardless of genre.

    By the quality of the playback, the quality of the connection to the music is so good and intense, that I started to enjoy a much wider variety of music than with lower quality playback. In case of a much less intense experience, in contrary the music has to match the current situation and usual taste much more.

    I simply love the option to listen to any kind of music with a concert-like emotional perception…that’s probably what makes our hobby and what’s different from playing background music. But that’s another interesting topic…the inability to hear music as background…difficult for me.

  6. My mood is now tense, as of this morning we are now in the cone of uncertainty for tropical storm ( soon to be hurricane ) Henri. Any music suggestions for tense?

    1. Right now I’m just right of the dead center track. Generator is ready. Canoes and kayaks are tied down, but ready to go. Extra tanks of gas and charcoal for the grills. Last time I went thru this in ‘85 no power for 2 weeks. As far as music, having been through Gloria in ‘85, my advise is to pick your favorite tunes. Crank it up and ride it out. Maybe I’ll get lucky again and experience another eye.

      If you’re truly nervous because of trees or being in a low lying area then pack up and head due west about 6-8 hours.

    2. I’d like to say that I’m praying for all of my American friends in the path of Henri,
      but quite often God isn’t listening to me.
      So I’ve got my fingers crossed that you guys will come through Henri’s wrath ok.

      While the wind & rain howls past your doors & windows, I’m thinking METALLICA
      …at high volume levels.
      Let Hercules drown Henri right out!

    3. Seems when the moment/timing is right, the music calls me to settle down and just enjoy the emotions that the musicians are speaking! Lately, that’s been much more often as the system synergy becomes a fine tuned live instrument! 😉

      All you E. Coast Audio Nuts Stay Safe…(from deep in S.E. LA-prayers a comin)!

    4. Paul’s selection is spot on for your situation: “Be gentle, breezes, and calm the sea.” Living about 110 miles/177 kilometres northeast of the geographic center of the contiguous 48 states, hurricanes are not something that I personally worry about. Be sate, be well, all.

    5. Might I suggest REO Ridin the Storm Out. Stay safe and dry, I live on the Gulf Coast so I’m all too familiar with hurricanes and I hope you and yours stay safe.

      1. OHT,

        Maybe Fleetwood Mac. Storms… also…

        Good to see your return. The one thing about NE hurricanes / tropical storms is they historically are much less in ‘amplitude’ then in your neck of the woods.

        I hope all is well with you, fellow bubble head. A new lab in training here….

        1. @Mike and @Fat Rat…Thanks, glad to be back. It’s been a rough year largely spent in Washington State helping take care of relatives who’ll all speak to us but not to each other, distance really does make the heart grow fonder. I’m 2000 miles away and I’m fonder of them already! But I won’t burden y’all with my problems. It’s good to be back home with my audio system (and my rolodex of passwords). My wife is still in Washington helping her brother who just had back surgery this week so I’m doing the bachelor thing for a cpl of weeks. Barring any further catastrophes I’m back.

          1. OHT,

            A long year yes. Glad you’re back, and a little bachelorhood supplemented with your audio probably feels good. Take care, good to hear from you and that all is well.

            1. Thanks Guys, I certainly appreciate the warm welcome back. FYI, y’all are the only online group I participate in that actually noticed. For most forums it’s against the rules to create multiple accounts and I’ve been so stressed I really didn’t want that bleeding thru so I didn’t create alternate accounts. I did get the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time, that “there’s no place like home” thing. Thank You again!!

  7. Recent research has been measuring brain wave activity with brain imaging, in response to various stimuli, measuring mood. Most interesting in relevance in the response to listing to live music, which when the music is felt to be “good” by both performers and musicians, is that the brain response in both listeners and musicians synchronizes. Such research is ongoing, and I find it fascinating to see the link between musician and listener in live performance.
    Check this out for a start:

  8. When I was in my mid to late teens, it was jazz hard rock RMB and wrap that got my wheels turning.
    But these days anymore, it’s still jazz and old school RMB, and classic disco.
    Why disco, that’s what I came up in the seventies listening to on the radio.
    But right now, I’m both trying to find my sound, and trying to figure out how I want to make that sound.
    But when I get ready to set down to record me making that sound, I’m looking for the right equipment to make it all happen.
    I was talking to a few people on the phone yesterday afternoon, about both hardware and software that will allow me to record directly in to DSD.
    The problem is, noone seems to know anything about DAWS that are screen reader friendly.
    I was told by a guy at Vintage King, to get in contact with Merging Technologies.
    But it seems that, they don’t know anything either.
    My mood right now is, I’m feeling stuck.
    Does anyone in this family have any ideas?
    If you do, then, I’d love to hear them.

  9. Since Paul started out with a trio aria by Mozart, I’ll double down to a duet aria by Bizet: “Au fond du temple saint” (a.k.a. ‘The Friendship Duet’) from Les pecheurs du perles. Sung by Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill. It’s an old recording, but artistry rises above technological limitations. It’s all about the music.

  10. The power of music to create mood is key to our appreciation of a film or television production. Even nearly all commercials have music to set an emotional tone. From the start, the musical score puts us in a frame of mind and then manipulates our senses for the duration. A movie overture gives us a sampling of the emotions we will feel during the film, with motifs that are revisited during the film’s plot sequence. The music lets us know if we should be laughing, worried, frightened, nervous, anticipating, crying, grieving. The absence of music makes us focus on small details as we look for other visual and audible clues and wait for the next shoe to drop. Music aids in the transition between times and places. It lets us know when the film is ending, and sometimes changes our mood from depression and despair to hope and resolution–the ole Greek tragedy format.

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