Inside a room of the Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church in Montrose, the last of 100 people to arrive were looking for open seats on a recent Tuesday afternoon before Ted Stern began his lecture.
Stern, a professor of music at Glendale Community College, has held an off-campus class here for the past several years.
This semester, with the title of “Film Composers and Other Related Stuff,” Stern began the session on how music can affect human emotion, particularly film compositions.
“Long before the 20th century, people understood how music was going to affect human emotions,” Stern said, pointing to Plato and his understanding of music in “The Republic.” “What Plato was saying was, ‘Harness this and we could put it to good use.’”
That’s why Plato thought it useful for the military to march to a major tonality — more positive and uplifting — rather than a minor, which can leave listeners “slightly more introspective or melancholy feeling,” Stern said.