Man and Music
Although the Oxford dictionary defines music as, “sounds that are arranged in a way that is pleasant or exciting to listen to”, there will always be a question: “Can we define music in words?”
Music has been an integral part of human civilization from early dawn days to today’s globalized world. Music through its various rhythmic beats, has connected people and cultures. Be it Sumerians who used sticks and bones to enrich their feelings during worshiping ceremonies or 1400 B.C.E’s “Hurrian hymn no.6”, music has always been with us. From imitating birds melody in a dense forest to Electronic dance music (EDM), music has transformed itself along with human civilization.
There is a prevalent belief that we process music on the right hemisphere of the brain along with other creative things but recent studies have suggested music is not just limited to the right hemisphere but throughout the parts of the brain. The melody of the music is assigned to the right hemisphere of the brain where it processes emotions, visual imagery, face recognition, and spatial abilities. Whereas the lyrics of the music and songs are attributed to the left hemisphere where all the logistic works are performed such as logics, maths, and language.
Various studies by neuroscientists show that during fMRI when people listen to their favorite songs their brain gets more active in comparison. When the same research was done to musicians while they play their creation their brain was working in an exceptional way. Radiologists have suggested that when listening to our favorite songs and melodies our brain tends to create feelings of self-awareness, empathy and internal thought.
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While we listen to our favorite music our brain releases dopamine which gives us the feeling of satisfaction similar to when we eat a delicious dish or have sex. This is why listening to songs improves our mood and makes us feel energetic. Music has helped humans throughout history. From banging drums and howling during an enemy raid to praying in a monastery, we have always used music as a way to improve our mental state. And music is more important to us today than it ever was, since we hardly give our psychological well being any time.
Forget about giving time, most of us are not even ready to acknowledge the existence and effects of music in our lives. With hours of work inside and outside of the office our body starts to drain itself. While half of the world population are draining themselves physically with their work and other half worrying about not having work which takes a toll on their mental energy, music can play an integral part in improving our moods and create a positive environment.
Psychologists have always advised children to get engaged in music at an early stage. Research shows that children who play musical instruments develop high IQ scores, more neural connections, and higher spatial intelligence. Children who are fond of music and musical instruments develop large corpus callosum; a nerve fiber bundle found beneath the cerebral cortex, which helps two hemispheres of the brain to communicate faster. As a result, they will not only have a strong IQ but also strong EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Musicians have an upper hand understanding and interpreting not only one’s emotions and feelings but also of others. This is why musicians are one of the most loved people all around the world.
Today Music therapy is used in treating people with emotional trauma, dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, and other brain disorders. As music can work as a distraction to the mind and slow the rhythms of the body, it can alter our moods, which in turn can influence behaviors. Till now music has been applauded only for its cultural and global importance but we think it’s now time we appreciate music for its psychological importance. Every music and song interprets a story; a story about an artist, a story about emotions, a story about life and as we say here at Mindspeaks “every story matters”.
On the occasion of World Music Day we quote a few people and what they have to say about music.
- “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
- “Without music, life would be a mistake” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
- “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” ― Albert Einstein
- “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” ― Arthur O’Shaughnessy
- “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ― Bob Marley
- “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”― Charles Darwin
- “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ― Confucius