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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Music And The Brain

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

From Plato:
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
Scientific evidence supports Plato's statement:

As Plato asserted, the benefits of music go beyond measurable neurological findings.   Music does indeed feed the soul (extensive list of quotes on that topic).


  1. Always remember. We don't listen to music so as to arrive at the song's end.

  2. I think it depends a great deal on what you define as "music."

    Does anyone beside my ancient self remember the experiments reported in The Atlantic Monthly somewhere in the mid-to-late in the 1950's involving two identical greenhouses?

    Identical plantings were placed in each. In one, however, Mozart was piped in 'round the clock. In the other it was Rock 'n Roll.

    Well, guess what happened?

    The plants exposed to Mozart thrived, grew lush and verdant, bloomed profusely and regenerated abundantly.

    Those exposed to Rick 'n Roll were stunted, discolored, often withered and produced a meager crop of undersized blossoms.

    The plants in both houses were fed identically, and treated to the same exposure to the sun.

    We have no real grasp of what the music in Plato's time was really like, but I'd be willing to bet it bore no resemblance whatsoever to Rock 'n Roll.

  3. I'll avoid the controversy over the putative merits and demerits of differing musical genres and just say that personally, music does something good for my soul. Playing a wooden instrument that thrums at different frequencies must do something physiological to a person, and it must interact with your brain waves.

    1. Silverfiddle,
      Have you read Musicophilia? Your comment is supported in the book, which I highly recommend the book. I first read the book as a library copy, then invested in my own copy. It's worth having in one's private library.

    2. I think in your case, Kurt, the music you enjoy most -- if I understand it rightly -- acts as a form of MEDITATION which gives you a quasi-religious experience. It soothes you by taking your thoughts away from the mundane, practical matters that bedevil us all, and transports you to a less stressful plane of consciousness.

      Nothin' wrong with that. BUT from where I sit it's PALLIATIVE. I would insist that developing genuine love for and understanding of Mozart (and many others we've discussed at various times) might prove CURATIVE.

      Just a thought ...

    3. I think you find it where you find it.

      It may be in classical or jazz. Coltrane struggling to find God in "A Love Supreme" or "Ascension" is as moving as much of Beethoven.

      Early folk music for me has a very basic beauty. I'll take the Carter family over many lesser classical works.
      Early folk is every bit as much a repository for basic truths as classical.

      Rock, yeah, not so much.

      But what are you going to do with me, eh FT. I really like John Cage's "Thirteen Harmonies" when I feel I can just let the world be.

      You find it where you find it.

    4. "The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason." --John Cage.

    5. Freethinke: you've listened to a lot of great music. Of what do you imagine it has cured you?

    6. Jez,

      It's not a matter of curing. It's a matter of enjoying life on a higher plane.

  4. I have no natural musical abilities. I sing like a frog. I can play the piano and organ if I practice practice practice. My hubby can pick up any instrument and play with skill.

    Right Truth

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  6. Working on my truck and listening to talk radio makes me angry in my soul.
    Working on my truck and listening to christian music makes me peaceful and worshipful in my soul.
    Working on my truck and listening to rock music makes me dance while I'm supposed to be wrenching.

  7. o/t - Obama just backed a coup d'etat against al Maliki. Things are getting interesting.

  8. My bad. This is al Maliki's coup... with the Iranians?

    more here: http://www.news.com.au/world/troops-surround-baghdad-green-zone-as-embattled-prime-minister-maliki-appears-to-cling-to-power/story-fndir2ev-1227020033404

    1. Thersites,
      YE, GODS!

      Thank you, my friend, for providing this information.

    2. The bungling of Iraq continues... :(

    3. Huffington Post also has coverage of the coup?

  9. Clip is a pretty strong argument for more music education in schools.

    1. AGAIN, it depends on what you define as "music," and what music is to be included in the curriculum. What YOU define as "it," by the way may be entirely different from what I define as "it." If we could only get PC nonsense and agenda-driven political associations in general out of the way, and simply enjoy musical aesthetics for their enormous intrinsic value, we might really have something worthwhile to offer young undeveloped minds once again.

      I have taught kids from the ghettos of NYC to play Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Bartok and Kabalevsky creditably at least sometimes extremely well. One of the greatest joys in my life was the day a Puerto Rican lad of 14, who'd begun our relationship with great hostility, mastered two of the Chopin Preludes after several months of concentrated effort, and performed them in the assembly with aplomb. Much to his surprise Chopin TURNED HIM ON once I made sure he got acquainted with it. After that there was no turning back. He used to stand outside my studio and listen to me practice in the evenings, until I caught him at it one day, and invited him to come in and sit down, if he wanted to. He did and was as good as gold. He attended concerts and recitals in Manhattan with the small groups I often escorted downtown. He never became a "pianist," per se, but some honest study opened up whole new worlds for him. He was just one of many.

      My years at that school were some of the best I've had. It was terribly sad when our new, notably liberal administration stupidly applied for extra funding from from New York State. Within a year they applied crippling restrictions that destroyed our curriculum, and so changed the aims, objectives, philosophy and very identity of the150-year-old school the atmosphere became intolerable. I had to leave.

      Sic transit gloria mundi -- whenever liberals take over.

  10. Fascinating! And look at that - Ducky and I agree! I have always lived the results FT cites in that experiment. It's not surprising that music has such a deep, visceral impact which professionals know how to harness to accompany a 'message' (TV commercial, sermon, military parade, etc.) to drive it in deeper, beyond the reach of cognitive impact. I've heard musicologist and scorer Jack Wheaton expound on the fine points of this in his profession. I'm just super busy at work and not had a chance to stop by for awhile.


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