Friday, February 19, 2016

Why Music?

Music seems an almost unconscious response to daily life - as necessary as breathing. It is often created without thought - whistling or humming tunes that are heard only in your own head softly, or singing along with the radio or the headphones under your breath. I wonder if we begin to create music in the womb, or if that environment of sounds and rhythm is what creates this love of sound in us before we are born. Whatever causes us to love music, it is the rare person who doesn't listen to music of some sort every day.

Symphony orchestras are common in the US and "Western" cultures and
have great popularity throughout the world. When new lands were
being settled, having a symphony orchestra or an opera house was
considered an essential part of declaring a certain higher level of culture. 

Think back - evolution might not have pushed for the love of music, especially love that causes us to create sound unconsciously. Sound, when trying to avoid predators that are faster than you and who look upon you as prey, probably doesn't come high on the list of great evolutionary decisions. If you're trying to sneak across the veld, you really don't want the big cats to target you because Big Grass Stalk up front can't keep from whistling.

Sound also transfers knowledge and can serve as warnings in the form of agreed-upon signals. Sound carries farther than vision and can reach the intended focus even if the originator is in high grass or a deep ditch. Hunters can use sound to organize a raid, mothers can use sound to keep children close.

How did this funny dude know to come running? Someone probably
gave him an audio signal of some kind. (The drawing was so humerous,
I just had to share with all of you.) 

From basic sound comes choreographed and duplicated sound - singing songs, playing drums in specific rhythm, blowing through the spaced holes in a reed to create a progression of musical notes. When a catchy tune is composed, it carries through a social group and suddenly popular music is born. Popular music travels and teaches.

Taliesin is still renowned today, hundreds of years
after he roamed Wales. 

In olden days, bards held a position just below that of kings. They weren't just entertainment, they were messengers, teachers and spies. The great bards have gone down in history - Taliesin, in Wales and Coirpre Mac Etaine in Ireland are only two of many renowned bards, some of whose work still lives on in fragments of parchment today.

Modern days have codified music but we still have our bards, or at least we have those who pass words and music around the world, influencing people to think kindly of others, or inspiring them to bravery they never knew they had prior to hearing the drums of war. Music can do that - all of that. So as I listened to the music of the planets yesterday evening, it seemed that the bard had just gone one step farther and that the universe and all it in had indeed been created by a Song with billions of distinctive notes. Where do you fit into this symphony? Happy Friday!

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