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Master Droid



Post Post #9040
So I just finished reading a book with the above title (subtitle: The Science of a Human Obsession). It's about the neuroscience and biology of how we react to music. It's really fascinating, I highly recommend it. It's a good way learn about how we relate to music, and even more about how the brain works. It's by Daniel Levitin, who used to be a sound engineer and now is a professor of neuroscience at McGill in Montreal.

He starts with some of the basics, what exactly is music and timbre as we perceive it, and then goes into other topics like expertise and the emotional part of music and, finally, where music fits into the evolutionary picture.

The most unfortunate thing is that he either completely ignores or forgets about the existence of electronic music. All the examples he cites are, I think, either from classical, jazz, or rock music. For the most part, this doesn't make it harder to understand the book. There is one part, though, where he talks about groove and how the way it gets people up and moving is that the drummer never quite follows convention, and keeps surprising the listener. This doesn't explain why trance is such good dance music, though, since it's incredibly predictable.

Anywho, here's the Amazon link if you're interested. If not, here are some fun facts from the book:

- The neurons in your brain fire at precisely the frequency you hear. That means that if you put electrodes on someone's head, had them listen to some melody, you could then tell what melody they heard.

- Expertise is mainly based on how much time you put into to something. One becomes an expert on something by investing about 10,000 hours into it. This is roughly equivalent to working at something 3 hours a day, every day, for 10 years.

- Babies can recognize music they heard in the womb, even after not hearing that music for a year.

- When people are asked to sing a recorded song (as opposed to something like "Happy Birthday", which has no official recording), they usually sing it in a key that's within a whole note of the key of the original song.

- Music-listening involves many areas of the brain: language-production areas and areas next to those (both in the cerebrum, the most advanced part of the brain), the amygdala (in charge of emotion), and the most primitive part of the brain, the cerebellum, which is responsible for timing and emotion.

- Music is thought to have evolved as part of a mating ritual. In its early forms it was probably very rhythm-focused and always connected to dancing (which is why a strong beat makes people want to dance). The dancing serve as a proof of a human's physical fitness, creativity could serve as a sign of mental fitness, and the fact that the person performing had time to spare to work on music was a sign that he had enough food to stay healthy.
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Master Droid



Post Post #9042
The word trance comes from the meaning on the more orginal "trance" music in the genre. As you said it's the rhythm. It's usually associated with heart beat which tends to start to follow the music beat, so very predictable "trance" music can get you into trance alike state. Ie. I'm sure many of you have been in the state when good music gets into you and you feel how your heart pumps on your chest on the beat of the trance/dance music.
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[Retired Droid]



Post Post #14315
It is also interesting how music impacts our emotions. Great music can give chills (or goose bumbs), but that experience is also very personal, according to some researches.

Here is one nice link to this matter: Feeling chills in response to music
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[Retired Droid]



Post Post #14319
More about music and emotions...

A quote from www.spring.org.uk website:

Seven Ways Music Influences Mood

Good music has direct access to the emotions. As such it's a fantastic tool for tweaking our moods. Saarikallio and Erkkila (2007) investigated the ways people use music to control and improve their mood by interviewing eight adolescents from Finland. The participants may be a small, very specific group, but they actually present a really useful list:

1. Entertainment - At the most fundamental level music provides stimulation. It lifts the mood before going out, it passes the time while doing the washing up, it accompanies travelling, reading and surfing the web.

2. Revival - Music revitalises in the morning and calms in the evening.

3. Strong sensation - Music can provide deep, thrilling emotional experiences, particularly while performing.

4. Diversion - Music distracts the mind from unpleasant thoughts which can easily fill the silence.

5. Discharge - Music matching deep moods can release emotions: purging and cleansing.

6. Mental work - Music encourages daydreaming, sliding into old memories, exploring the past.

7. Solace - Shared emotion, shared experience, a connection to someone lost.

These seven strategies all aim for two goals: controlling and improving mood. One of the beauties of music is it can accomplish more than one goal at a time. Uplifting music can both divert, entertain and revive. Sad, soulful music can provide solace, encourage mental work and discharge emotions. The examples are endless.

Many of Saarikallio and Erkkila's findings chime with previous research. For example, distraction is considered one of the most effective strategies for regulating mood. Music has also been strongly connected with reflective states. These tend to allow us greater understanding of our emotions.

One of the few negative connections Saarikallio and Erkkila consider is that sad music might promote rumination. Rumination is the constant examination of emotional state which, ironically, can lead to less clarity. On the contrary, however, Saarikallio and Erkkila found that music increased the understanding of feelings, an effect not associated with rumination.


Source: http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/03/seven-ways-music-influences-mood.php
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Post Post #18332
I've started to read this book a couple of days ago because you your recommendation Smile It's quite fascinating, indeed. I love to find out new things about music, it really helps me understand it better
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