In their approximately 300 public performances a year, the Grayville police band members serve to reanimate subhuman or human police officers by making the emotions lurking beneath visually disconnected and emotionally ‘impartial’ police skins audibly evident to members of the public. In the police view, this reanimation is effected because audiences understand emotion to be a defining characteristic of being human. Band members, who look exactly as police officers do, although they are not operational or even trained officers, speak to members of the public in what the police department calls ‘the language of emotion’: music. The musical and therefore, in the police logic, the emotional officer emerges to cast police as affective human beings via musics of particular genres. But this is not a simple image management strategy and apparent solution; speaking the language of emotion gives cops a powerful means in and through which to engage with members of the public in a subtle exercising of contemporary police power. This mode of operation appears, at least to the cops who wield it, to be effective on members of the public even as it is unrecognized by them.
The production of musical emotion is not as straightforward as the police logic suggests for band members. The Grayville police logic indicates that music audibly evidences the presence of emotional capacity in the producer, but how music and emotion are experienced and expressed among the members of the Grayville police band varies greatly and uniformly across rehearsal and performance contexts. Each of these contexts entails and occasions particular and different experiences of embodied musicality, which includes embodied instrumentality and sonority. These rehearsal and performance differences help illuminate specific differences between what band members feel and what they believe audience members experience as the musical language of emotion. For band members, the particular experience of multisensual surveillance that is required in rehearsal contexts (to prevent technical mistakes from being made) results in the production of a kind of musical grammar for emotion, made up of the principal technical elements of producing music of a particular emotional character, but not in the production of feelings themselves. Band members gave descriptions of ‘musical orgasms’ and of ‘being close to God’ to characterize performance experiences. Both were described as representations of ‘the feel’, a specific embodied, sociomusical order of emotion that is wholly unavailable for audience members to feel.