HARMONIC STORIES | Zheng Yang | TEDxBrentwoodCollegeSchool

HARMONIC STORIES | Zheng Yang | TEDxBrentwoodCollegeSchool

Evolution of Music Perception

  • Ancient music, such as "Hurrian Hymn No. 6," was simple and served spiritual purposes, fostering community through worship.
  • In the 18th century, composers like Bach developed complex harmonies and structures, focusing on mathematical precision and expressing emotions within a religious context.
  • In the late 19th century, composers like Erik Satie challenged traditional music with works like "Gymnopédie No. 1," using unstable chords and creating a sense of reflection and introspection.
  • Ravel's "Bolero," composed during his struggle with dementia, conveyed a sense of entrapment and frustration through repetitive rhythms and rising dynamics, communicating emotions without relying on harmonic progressions.
  • Modern music perception involves personal experiences and emotions, connecting to harmonies in ways that composers of the past may not have intended.

Harmony in Music

  • Harmony has psychotic qualities and structure.
  • The speaker recommends listening to the full 15 minutes of Arrow to experience the feeling of harmony.
  • The speaker discusses four examples of composers using harmony to tell stories in different ways:
    • Herheim used the rawest form of devotion.
    • B used intricate calculations.
    • SA used the meticulous choice of chords and phrasing.
    • V used perspective.


  • There are millions of pieces of music composed by humans, each with its own intended meaning.
  • The speaker encourages the audience to listen to music with a different attitude to discover more stories and perspectives.
  • The speaker thanks the audience for coming to their TCH talk.

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