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Why Do We Like The Music We Do

Nov 22, 2007
What is music? Every sound which exists is comprised of sound waves. The thing which differentiates music from other sound waves, is the way in which the sound waves vibrate and decrease from loud to soft. Dropping a metal pan on the floor will give a jarring and erratic set of vibrations. Whereby striking a note on a piano chord for instance, would present a softer more uniformed and smooth transition from loud to soft. A musical note is of course going to be more pleasant to the ear.

There is an old saying "music sooths the savage beast." This holds certain truth and is also an understatement. The surface will barely be scratched here as music plays a large part in our lives, however, let us continue to give it an overview.

We all grow up with certain songs or music that ring a bells with our entire being. For example, when I listen to "A Summer Place," I am immediately carried back to the summer months in the fifties. The experience is so profound that I can remember how the sun felt on my face, the smell of the hot dogs that were cooked over an open fire and the laughter of friends and family.

A theory exists that certain notes or chords ring with a vibration that is particularly harmonious to certain people. Have you ever listened to a song and had "goose bumps?" If the answer to that question is yes, then you give validation to this theory. When you receive such goose bumps from a certain song or piece of music, then that has a profound affect on the subconscious. By adding a little intense emotion to the equation, you are left with a powerful, indelible, blueprint on your subconscious that will remain with you for the rest of your life.

An example would be that you receive news of a death of a loved one at the same time that a specific piece of music was playing on the radio. You would have a lasting impression of that particular piece of music. And for no apparent reason, you may find yourself thrown into a deep state of depression some years later when hearing the same song. The exact same can also be experienced when listening to certain music about a "positive" feeling, for example, a certain song or piece of music on your wedding day or graduation.

It is a proven fact that music plays on your subconscious. In the past you may have found yourself humming a tune, but you could not remember where you had heard it before. You later discover that it was from a new television commercial. This is something that the advertising industry pays a huge amount of money for and they go to great lengths to carry out research as to why and how music works on the subconscious mind. It is also for this reason that large companies go to great lengths to reconstitute classics that were originally performed on stage and screen by some of the greats.

Therefore, when you find yourself humming a particular tune in the future, attempt to remember where and when you first heard it. Also try to remember what circumstances you heard it in. This will most probably help you to understand how past events in your life have been related to music. One thing is for sure, and I am willing to put a wager on it, is that the next time you hear "A Summer Place," it will remind you of when you read this article.

Happy Listening!
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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