Thursday, March 22
Wednesday, March 21
Friday, March 16
Wednesday, March 14
Thursday, March 8
by wayne kafka on Thu 08 Mar 2012 02:33 PM GMT
So far we
have established most of the major theories on the origins of music. So the
next the question we need to look at is what exactly does music do for us? Music
can have a very powerful influence on our emotions, moods and behaviour. This
has been well recognised through the ages. Historically, which has been
documented in previous posts, has been used for such varied purposes such a;
bolstering courage before battles, singing babies to sleep, enhancing the
courtship process and accompanying rites of passage through life. Of course
Music can serve many different purposes. Some of these operate at the level of the
individual; others are an integral part of our social lives. For the
individual, music can provide an outlet for emotional expression, enable mood
change, facilitate relaxation, provide stimulation and be a source of comfort.
It can also be used in therapy. Music can entertain, provide aesthetic
enjoyment and enhance the impact of the other arts. It can provide intellectual
challenge through listening, analysis, critique, composition and performance
and, for those who are actively involved in music making; it provides the
additional challenge of technical mastery. This and the next few posts are
going to look at music’s power to change moods.
reduce anxiety? That music affects human beings in various ways has probably
been presumed as long as people have played music. I suppose we all have
experience of music making us feel better and using it to regulate our moods.
How many of us get home from a stressful day to put some music on in the
knowledge that it will calm the mind and soul? I should imagine quite a few if
not all of us have done this many times during our lifetime, many will do this
frequently. But what if we were in a state of anxiety? Would music still have
enough power to relieve the stress? Yes is the answer according to a study
carried out by Winter et al (1994) in their paper “Music reduces stress and
anxiety of patients in the surgical holding area.”
In this study, one group of subjects listened to music while a second group did not. Subjects who listened to music while in the Surgical Holding Area had significantly less stress and anxiety than did those who did not listen to music. Both groups spent similar lengths of time in the Surgical Holding Area. The results strongly suggest that if music were available to all patients in the Surgical Holding Area, most would select this option, and they would experience less anxiety. So the next time you’re off to the docs for any reason don’t forget your iPod!!
Wednesday, March 7
Tuesday, March 6
Monday, March 5
by wayne kafka on Mon 05 Mar 2012 12:57 PM GMT
Riot In My House - Mark Lanegan Band
In Dust We Trust - The Chemical Brothers
One Big Holiday - My Morning Jacket
Post Break-Up Sex - The Vaccines
Ballad Of The Broken Seas -Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Friday, March 2
Tuesday, February 28
Monday, February 27
by wayne kafka on Mon 27 Feb 2012 11:38 PM GMT
Mirrors - Crocodiles
Who Was In My Room Last Night? - Butthole Surfers
Floating Vibes -Surfer Blood
Shipbuilding - Robert Wyatt
Vitamin C - Can
Saturday, February 25
Friday, February 24
Tuesday, February 21
by wayne kafka on Tue 21 Feb 2012 05:46 PM GMT
Most of the theories discussed so far look at the origins of music from an adaptive perspective i.e. that they offered some kind of survival mechanism. However they are a number of theories that claim music offers no such thing, Steven Pinker in his book ‘How the mind works’, claims that music is nothing but ‘auditory cheesecake’. He claims that music is nothing but a by-product of language, stating that once we had language we figured out ways to trick the brain into making music.
‘Auditory cheesecake’!!?? I hear you ask. This is a well-known argument in evolutionary circles which seeks to answer the question ‘Why do we like cheesecake when it’s not healthy and can lead to health problems?’ The answer is that our hunter gatherer ancestors had very few sources of fats and sweets and it was a survival benefit to load up on them when the chance arose, and to take some pleasure in storing them in their bodies. Our liking for cheesecake, Pinker argues, is just a by-product of this evolutionary system that no longer works. Pinker claims that our liking for music is just a product of our evolutionary system that was selected for language and as a result we merely just like the sounds of music, which in turn offers us no benefit.
So in summary our liking for sugar and fatty foods holds no survival benefit to humans but for our hunter gathers ancestors who stocked up on fatty foods when the chance arose, did so did so because future food supplies where always uncertain, this left humans with an appetite for such foods today. So with the evolution of language humans developed a taste for musicality, a taste for combinations of different pitches that where pleasurable to the ear and offered no survival benefit. Music is nothing but a by-product from the evolutionary process caused by the development of language.
Thursday, February 16
Tuesday, February 14
Friday, February 10
Thursday, February 9
Wednesday, February 8
Tuesday, February 7
by wayne kafka on Tue 07 Feb 2012 07:41 PM GMT
Another theory of the origins of music by Stephen Shennan in his paper “Genes, memes and human history”, explains music has a product of group selection. Shennan observes that selection can occur on numerous levels including that of the group and states “all theoretical schools, including those that are sceptical about other levels of evolutionary process than that of individual fitness, recognise that such individual interests may often be served by co-operating rather than competing with other individuals of the same species”. In other words an individual’s behaviour is likely to acquire the form of approved “pro-social norms” that emerge within a population. Following these norms can benefit the members of the group by giving additional rewards for behaviours that they choose to undertake as individuals. So in summary for a social species the chances of an individual surviving to procreate or of having a high rate of procreation depends upon their “cultural fitness” of how they behave in relation to others in their social group, not just their physical fitness.
So where does music come in? Well behaviours that contribute to the cohesiveness of a group may make other co-operative behaviours more likely and populations that can successfully overcome coordination problems will tend to grow and absorb other populations, and be copied by others. Music emerged as a pro-social norm that assisted with group co-ordination and this lead to the growth of many other populations. Add to this, not only did music behaviours become a behavioural norm in their own right, but because of their foundations in powerful motives for social awareness and expressive behaviours those individuals with well-developed capacities for musical action and perception should also be best at identifying and engaging with other norms of social interaction.
So in summary if you behave according to the group norm this will increase your chances to procreate and music allow an individual to demonstrate their skill in co-operating with the group.
Sunday, February 5
Friday, February 3
Thursday, February 2
Wednesday, February 1
Tuesday, January 31
Monday, January 30
Saturday, January 28
Friday, January 27
by wayne kafka on Fri 27 Jan 2012 06:43 PM GMT
An alternative theory to the Brown theory is put forward by Edward Hagen and Gregory Bryant, who suggest in their paper “Music and dance as a coalition signalling system”, rather than music and dance causing social cohesion, they actually signal social cohesion. Hagen and Bryant state that “for humans and human ancestors, musical displays may have… functioned in part, to defend territory and perhaps also to signal group identity, and that these displays have formed the evolutionary basis for music behaviours of modern humans”. So in short music is the signal for group identify and action which in turn helps defend their territory by help intimidating potential intruders.
Thursday, January 26