Further Thoughts on the Indifference Point

These posts are more about creating questions than answers. The goal is to create countless preludes for suites of further insight. When I posted yesterday I couldn’t leave it behind, thinking of more questions and comments about Vierordt’s indifference point. Here are a couple…

1) What about breaking the lower end of the indifference point: that is, going too slow. This ranges from ambient music, adagios in classical music, and ballads in jazz and pop. While the overtly fast music was said to be overwhelming, this music could be described as to underwhelm the listener. It could be considered boring, corny, too vague, overtly sentimental.

2) Can an indifference point vary from person to person? Depending on what one listens to, tempo acclimation could greatly differ. If one were to listen to punk all the time, perhaps their indifference point would be higher than the established threshold of 96 bpm. What was once the indifference point (86-96 bpm) could now, in the punk’s instance, be where disorientation starts.

3) Vierordt’s indifference point is rather slow: 86-96 bpm. Even pop music can range from 80 (Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse”) to 117 (Nicki Minaj’s “Starship”): both well under and below Vierordt’s calculations. 86 to 96 bpm falls under Andante, “walking” tempo. Pop music in most cases is used to make people dance, whether excitedly and fast or slow and sensually. Perhaps the indifference point is something to avoid, an equilibrium that music isn’t so much to conserve but break.

4) And yet there can also be an idifference point in regards to performing. We all have a threshold of how fast (and slow) we can play that is ever changing. Perhaps this range can be a performer’s indifference point, where one can play comfortably without difficulty or hesitation.


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