There are many books, essays and papers that attempt at conclusively creating a taxonomy of music and emotional heirarchies. Apart from cultural differences between what emotion words one might connect to a particular musical idea, there is also the nature vs nurture argument. Are minor chords inherently sad (even to a human never exposed to melodic music) or is it something we are exposed to by association throughout our lifetime in background scores, lyrics, television etc.?
I think that one might attempt to answer these question by narrowing down different aspects of music – Timbre, Rhythm, Harmony etc. I can appreciate how a violin sound (that resembles the human crying voice) might be connected inherently with sadness or how a twinkly transient sound might connect with a visual of twinkling stars. But the possibilities of associative connections between different modalities for a human mind are endless and extremely complex. (therefore the most exciting to forage). I am looking forward to reading and learning more literature on this. (Do comment if you recommend any reading/work)
On the other hand it is important to comment about the changing slang-uages used popularly in each medium. Snapchat, twitter, text messages have all developed a unique and interestingly complex language. It has to be said that memes and emojis are by far the most easily accepted part of culture today.
Putting these two commentaries together, I wonder how one could represent music in this language of the future – emojis/memes. This was just a very simple experiment to play with the idea of letting people choose their palette of emojis and experiment with the sounds that they connect to them.
After a key is chosen, every interval with respect to it is assigned a unique emoji based on the intervals emotion descriptions from wikipedia. It would be really interesting to make this an online document in itself, where one could add words of description for each interval. Here is a video demonstrating the concept with the emojis appearing out of John Coltrane’s legendary sax.