Music is a very interesting phenomenon of the human brain and it has a profound effect on our emotional and mental state. We play music during moments of celebration, mourning, relaxation, reflection, and every other emotional state. The sound of music seems to be able to comfort us in ways that few other things can.
While this is all true, scientists and researchers are still looking at exactly how our brains interact with music and what it is about a particular arrangement of sounds that has captivated cultures all throughout history.
One interesting sociological fact that many researchers have pointed out is that rich musical traditions developed independently in cultures that had no contact with one another. This fact suggests that music is something innate to the human mind and, given enough time and stability, music will inevitably be produced when groups of people get together.
Not only has music been ubiquitous across cultures throughout time, but it’s also been an important part of all religious organizations throughout time. “Along with material art, all cultures have sought to express their religious beliefs through song” writes Jeff Blum, a music blogger at Writinity and Last Minute Writing. In the western world, some of the most well known examples of this is Catholic hymns, which are still studied and sung today.
After considering all this, researchers inevitably turned to looking at how the brain interacts with music. They have used a variety of modern imaging and examination tools and what they found tells us just as much about how the brain works as it does how we interact with music.
How Does The Brain Respond To Music
When using MRI and other imaging techniques, researchers found that the whole brain responds to music in different ways. They saw that the brian uses different parts to process and analyze rhythm, tonality, and timbre as well as chord progressions and melodic changes.
Another thing they saw is that music has a tremendous capacity to induce an emotional state of well being, and when a user is enjoying a particular piece of music, they get a sudden rush of dopamine, similar to what one would expect of a narcotic substance.
The music industry has known about this fact for a long time, and much careful study has gone into how to craft a new hit single. It was found that the brain likes to predict what comes next in a song, and when it gets it right, it gives off a set of pleasure inducing neurotransmitters in response. “People have often commented on the fact that all new pop songs sound more or less the same. Although this remark is often said facietsouly, there is some truth to the statement” writes Helen Smith, a wellness writer at Draftbeyond and Researchpapersuk.
The reason why a lot of pop songs sound the same is because they often use many of the same chord progressions, song structures, and melodic phrasing as other hits from years past. After all, if a formula keeps producing results what motivation to record executives have to stop using it.
Music And Creativity
When studying image scans, scientists saw that areas of the brain most often associated with creativity have a heavy response to music. Most people don’t need brain scans to know to be true, as music has been a part of the creative process for artists for hundreds of years. In fact, many famous paintings and sculptures have been dedicated to certain musical pieces.
Music And Politics
Because of the profound effect music has on people, it is no surprise that governments throughout the centuries have sought to use it as a way to influence people and strengthen their ideology and position with the people.
In modern history, there is no better example of this phenomenon than the soviet union, who closely monitored the artists, telling them what kind of music was in line with the government’s vision and which music was not. The Soviet Union pushed what they called Sociailst Realism, which sought to glorify communist values and emancipation of the proletariat.
Even Socialist Realism was quite restrictive, it still managed to produce some of the most celebrated classical musicians such as Dmitri Shostakovich.
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. Over the years, she has been involved in a great number of projects, covering several different topics. When she is not working, the mother of two enjoys travelling, reading, and attending business seminars and workshops.