The simplest way to explain music is that Music is organised sound. It has existed since the pre-historic era. The Greek and Hindu mythology depicts some of its Gods with musical instrument held with them. An Aeolian (or wind) harp, a musical instrument played by the wind is named after Aeolus, the ancient Greek god of the wind. Similarly, Saraswati, an Indian Goddess of knowledge, music, art and wisdom is always represented holding a veena, a musical instrument, in her hands. It is evident that music has been integral part of our lives. It influences and triggers varied emotions in us. Maybe, that is why loud music are often referred to as angry or brutal and music like lullabies makes one fall asleep and with sweet dreams.
My wife, who is a designer and co-owner of Oliver Bear – a leather and suede handbag brand, used to stay very stressed due to the nature of her work. Her yoga teacher suggested that music can help reduce stress and anxiety. She started listening to music whilst travelling and whilst at work. Thanks to music and the different parts of her brain which are stimulated by the vibes produced by music, her stress level was greatly reduced.
Researchers claim music allows the body’s vibrations to synchronise with the rhythms of those around it. For instance, if an anxious patient with a racing heartbeat listens to slow music; his heart rate slows down and synchronises with the music’s rhythm. The use of music in medicine has become more frequent lately, although music therapy is not new. There have been quite a few evidences that the music has calming effect on peoples body. In France (world’s fashion hub & largest handbag market), music was used in the 1940’s as a therapy to help soldiers recover from stress, depressions, and other mental conditions that were the aftermath of the war.
The musicologist Julius Portnoy has pointed out that music is able to impair the functioning of the blood pressure and change people’s metabolic rates and manage to reassure people before a surgery. Having considered that scientists have now been able to explain and quantify the way music effects our emotional levels, doctors have started to use music therapy in hospitals and nursing homes not only to make people feel better, but also to help them heal faster.
Moreover, researches have shown links between the melody and the mind, hence indicating that playing and listening to varied styles of the music influence people’s mind and hence the body. Given that, in the same conditions, the plants exposed to loud music for the long time died faster than the ones exposed to calm and soothing music. This also led to the conclusion, as also pointed out earlier that loud music like Rock and metal has ‘loud’ effect on people while calm and soothing music have ‘healing’ effect on people. This explains why sad songs triggers sad thoughts and sad memories but one turns on a peppy music when the mood is all charged up.
Since music has such a close relation to human emotions, it is an excellent way to make one remember specific information. In marketing, music is often used to make people remember an advert or a product. An Italian advertisement of Fiat 500 was essentially remembered because it was associated with the soundtrack of Giovanni Allevi.
Aside from brain activity, the affect of music on hormone levels in the human body can also be quantified, and there is definite evidence that music can lower levels of Cortisol in the body (associated with arousal and stress), and raise levels of melatonin (which can induce sleep). It can also precipitate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. Some researchers say that music also has the same effect on human mind, that food and sex have. Maybe this is the reason why motion pictures have music in the background that changes with the situation. We may not notice but our brain does and gives that added flavour to the movies, by triggering the right emotion at the right time.
Interestingly, the question that how music succeeds in prompting emotions within us and why these emotions are often so powerful are yet not known. Therefore, we can quantify some of the emotional responses caused by music, but we cannot yet explain them.
Briefly, it can be said as David tame has rightly pointed out by quoting the secret power of music, music is more than a language, it is the language of languages.