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My most awaited anime of the season finally came out. Sakamichi no Apollon features a simple yet thoughtful approach to Jazz music, making it easy for anyone to enjoy the genre. Moreover, I really love how it highlights the difference between just making sound from playing music.

There wasn’t any swing!
If you play it without feelin’ it,
it doesn’t sound like no jazz to me!

Aside from the yaoi vibes, it’s so interesting how Sentarou accused Kaoru of having no feelings as he played Art Barkley’s Moanin’. But for arguments sake let’s just agree with Sentarou, since most likely every artist would also say that music is composed of emotion and soul rather than just mere sound and silence. In fact, this idea is what I find fascinating with this art. I’m intrigued by how a listener can claim whether the performer is or isn’t playing the music with any swing.

Several believed that the artist’s feelings are transmitted to the musical instruments then gets resonated to the music. By having that swag and expressions, the performer musically and emotionally arouses the listeners. Further, it was said that major and minor scales have inherent emotional associations because their sound spectra are close to happy and sad speeches. The tempo can also be seen as an emotional indication; say for instance upbeat music is being used to signify excitement and downbeat for mellow feeling.

Hence for some, music is a common language which exists in all cultures and communicates the emotional intent of the performer.

On the other hand, some deemed that music is plastic and amplifies a wide variety of emotional states or sometimes none at all. Music doesn’t essentially rely on the artist’s style but rather on how the listener perceives the sounds. For example, the performer might be in sorrow as he plays his slow beat tempo but it’s possible that the listener hears a happy tune out from it because of how the sound is being reminiscent of some blissful memories.

It’s also likely that certain music from a specific culture isn’t considered as music in different societies but rather just a mere sound. Thus in this case, music communicates through individuation of musical expressions of emotion.

As we have seen, Kaoru initially thought that Sentarou was just blasting some odd noise but then eventually got captivated by the drummer’s beat and tempo. In this scenario, it’s not really about hearing Jazz what moved him but rather seeing Sentarou’s passion—having that swing and swag.

Evidently, there’s a connection between Sentarou’s music and Kaoru’s emotional arousal. However, I’d like to think of this not as a direct communication between the performer and the listener but a culmination of the make-believe language—as Santaro burst, it’s all about the swing that turns a sound into Jazz.

Hence, a listener can only appreciate a work only if he exercises his own mastery of the rules of make-believe. These map the audible features of music onto the imagined ideas about the experience of emotions. But before this happens, the artist must be able to unleash a certain personality into his music to move the listener.

Also come to think of it, it’s literally impossible for a piece of music to personify emotions for it is not a living body. That’s why when playing Jazz, remember, it’s all about performing the whimsical *swing* that adds factor to the music.

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