“feelings” for 10 strings:  can I evoke a specific feeling?

The feelings suite of four movements for ten strings was a self-challenge to see if I could invoke specific feelings. How could I know? By asking. I constructed a method by which the audience could tell me what they were feeling during the performance.

What I learned was that the majority of audience members had a hard time identifying their feelings and instead, posted observations and judgements about and reactions to their feelings, instead of the feelings themselves. This could have resulted from the audience not understanding my directions, or confusion about their role in the experiment. But, I think it has more to do with our cultural bias towards judgement and away from actually knowing what we’re feeling. To help the audience identify their feelings, a list of from Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolient Communication: A Language of Life was supplied online and in the program. In the final assessment of my challenge “could I invoke specific feelings” – I largely failed! The audience did not feel those I intended for each movement: forlorn, ebullient, guilty, ecstatic. Some of the reasons for that could be 1) an underrehearsed performance, 2) the survey mechanism was not followed and 3) the survey mechanism was therefore flawed.

Here are the instructions listed in the program:

feelings audience feedback set up:
1. On your phone, go to www.menti.com
2.type in 89 93 42 (no spaces) and hit Enter
3. Listen to the music. Allow the music to evoke feelings. Identify the feeling using the lists. Enter them into any orall of the 5 provided text fields. Submit as often as you want.The list of feelings, from Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication practice, can be accessed in two ways. One list is printed on tonight’s program (included at bottom of this page). The other can be accessed at goo.gl/HbBWBb This may be more convenient since you can scroll through the list and copy (tap and hold) them.

A tip I gave to the audience for identifying a feeling is to 1) stop thinking 2)listen 3) listen to your body’s reaction to the music  for a feeling 4) identify that feeling.

Listen to each movement for 10 strings, decide on your own feelings the piece evokes, and then compare them to the audience.

  1. forlorn
  2. ebullient
  3. guilty
  4. ecstatic

(What is the difference between emotions and feelings?)


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