If you are anything like me, maybe you’ve suddenly felt a chill while listening to music. Perhaps, you got goosebumps and saw your arm hairs stand on end. Maybe you even teared up.
The truth is I really wasn’t sure why music gives us chills, but I was determined to find out. My first stop was the Washington State University School of Music. That’s where I met up with my friend and music professor Greg Yasinitsky.
He played a few different notes on the piano in his office. He told me that if you play three or more notes at once, it’s called a chord.
“Major chords tend to make us happy,” he said. “Minor chords are more ominous or sad.”
However, when the music tends to be sad people don’t always describe it as unpleasant, he adds. Just think of an emotional or dramatic part of a movie. Even if the music has more of a sad sound, sometimes it brings about a positive emotion.
Seven Washington State University faculty members—all in the College of Arts and Sciences—received fellowships through the 2018 Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program, a program funded by the WSU Office of Research.
The program awarded $60,153 to support six projects that focus on faculty professional goals to advance university-wide arts and humanities initiatives. The provisionally approved Center for the Arts and Humanities will host a monthly Fellows Seminar during the 2018-19 academic year to support and promote the projects.
“These grants showcase the range and innovation of creative and humanistic work at WSU,” said Todd Butler, chair of the fellowship review committee. “These faculty are taking on challenging questions and demonstrating the vital contributions the arts and humanities can make to both today’s society and our knowledge of the past.”
The winning faculty are: Carol Siegel, Department of English, WSU Vancouver; Hallie Meredith, Department of Fine Art, WSU Pullman; Sue Peabody, Department of History, WSU Vancouver; Michael Goldsby and Samantha Noll, Department of Philosophy, WSU Pullman; Julia Cassaniti, Department of Anthropology, WSU Pullman; and Troy Bennefield, School of Music, WSU Pullman.
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Thomas LeClair is trying to fix a 91-year-old theatre organ he found languishing in the basement of Webster Physical Sciences building on the Pullman campus.
A biology and music double-degree student, LeClair discovered the existence of the instrument while thumbing through old files in the WSU Libraries Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections.
“I was looking up information about the organ I practice on in Bryan Hall, and came across a couple of papers about a different and much older organ in Webster,” LeClair said. “I was like, ‘What? That’s the physics building, they don’t have an organ.’ So, I went to the office in Webster and asked about it, and they told me that, yes, they do in fact have an old theatre organ in the basement.”
In 1927, early Pullman developer P.W. Struppler purchased the organ now in Webster to accompany silent movies at the Spanish Colonial style Cordova Theatre, which opened on Grand Avenue in 1928.
The old pipe organ was donated to WSU in 1961 and installed in the physical sciences building in 1975 at the behest of then-chairman of physics Edward Donaldson for studying musical acoustics.
Dean Luethi has been named director of Washington State University’s School of Music. Luethi is an associate professor and coordinator of music education at the school, teaches choral music methods and choral conducting classes and directs WSU’s tenor/bass choir and treble choir. He is currently working on a virtual choral conducting series for distribution to conductors in India.