What is music?

I found this video a few weeks ago while looking for another microtonal piece to share with a friend. (The piano is not out of tune, it is tuned that way intentionally.) I ended up coming back to it repeatedly, especially late at night, instead of marking it as a curiosity and moving on (as I had done with a few other such pieces). I can’t quite figure out why. I will spare you my clumsy/ignorant attempts at theorizing and leave with a quote I came across recently.

The emotional impact of music is so incommensurate with what people can say about it, and that seems to be very illustrative of something fundamental—that very powerful emotional effects often can’t be articulated. You know something’s happened to you but you don’t know what it is. You’ll find yourself going back to certain poems again and again. After all, they are only words on a page, but you go back because something that really matters to you is evoked in you by the words. And if somebody said to you, Well, what is it? or What do your favorite poems mean?, you may well be able to answer it, if you’ve been educated in a certain way, but I think you’ll feel the gap between what you are able to say and why you go on reading.

Adam Phillips, interviewed by Paul Holdengräber

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