February 8, 2012

The Emotional Side of Music

Tomoko remarked one day, “There are three important things in life: emotions, food, and sleep.” She continued, “People have to have feelings. When they are in the dark, they band together and express their feelings, sometimes with music. When they celebrate, they create music.” Music and emotions go together.

Talking about the personal aspect of such emotional music, Tomoko says: ‘Your music is your own; no one can steal your heart.” Again, music can be very intimate. She notes that “surprisingly many people love music, but they don’t necessarily talk about it.” Music is felt more than it is thought about. Moreover, the music speaks for itself, and doesn’t need a monologue.

Tomoko reminds us that many compositions are written to express emotions, and are often written for someone special. She mentions that Chopin dedicated most of his pieces to someone. Tomoko also remarks on the emotions of Beethoven, which are “so strong inside. Fidelio has such power, and it is all balanced.”

What about the performing pianist? Tomoko notes, “Some pianists have no fun,” which surprises her since she felt that sometimes “music is like a circus. Performers can take themselves too seriously”. She comments on one professional pianist whose tone was mechanical. “He had a connection with the Baldwin piano, but he couldn’t play what he felt.” Tomoko explains, “Many pianists have this vocation because of the money, or need to survive. They have no emotion.” She then asks, “Why be there? If there is no interest, there is nothing to share.” She jokes, “They are missing wasabi,” meaning that their performance lacks zest.

As for Tomoko, she loves to teach, and her positive emotions are evident as she talks about working with her students. She advises her students that, when creating music, they should make some style. “You need to include emotion,” she tells them. Tomoko sometimes has students playing four hand pieces, matching students. “They practice more; they are more excited,” she finds.

Tomoko concludes: “Every single moment life is valuable. You have to feel it. Right now you feel miserable but keep up step by step.” Music brings out our emotions, and gives them life. And music has the power to give everyone a richer, emotional life.

You can experience Tomoko’s heartfelt emotions as she interprets the composers’ emotional lives as expressed in the piano pieces at http://www.tomokohagiwara.com/recordings.html

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