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View Article  5 A Day - 22/03/12

Calling Lighting With A Scythe -Howlin Rain

Julie Profumo - Cleaners From Venus

Stranger - Soul Asylum

You Don't Know My Mind – Feedtime

Bird Needs a Plane – River Roses

View Article  5 A Day - 21/03/12

I Love You In Your Tragic Beauty -Legendary Pink Dots

The Night - School Of Seven Bells

Get A Grip - Spectrals

Weights & Measures - Dry the River

Welcome To The World - Cheap Trick

View Article  5 A Day - 16/03/12

Cashout - Fugazi

The Rotten Mile - Gallon Drunk

One Big Party - The BellRays

Bang Bang You're Dead - Dirty Pretty Things

Motorhead – Hawkwind

View Article  5 A Day - 14/03/12

Girl From The North Country - Bob Dylan

I Want Wind to Blow - The Microphones

Apache – The Shadows

The Weight - The Band

Don't Call Me Pain -The Pop Group

View Article  Music and Anxiety

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.


Does music 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!!

View Article  5 A Day - 08/03/12

Town Called Malice -The Jam

On The Radio - The Concretes

Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants -The Dillinger Escape Plan

Finally - Kath Bloom

Flashlight - Parliament

View Article  5 A Day - 07/03/12

Time Spent In Los Angeles - Dawes

Bombtrack - Rage Against The Machine

Panda -Dungen

Hang Em High - Los Plantronics

Chains Of Love -The Dirtbombs

View Article  5 A Day - 06/03/12

Dont Know About You - Bardo Pond

Gods In My Shoes -Duke Garwood

Firecracker - Half Japanese

You're Pretty Good Looking -The White Stripes

Red Hot Momma - Funkadelic

View Article  5 A Day - 05/03/12

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

View Article  5 A Day - 02/03/12

Kiss Of Life - Friendly Fires

Have Love Will Travel -The Sonics

Standing In The Way Of Control - The Gossip

The Greatest - Cat Power

Alison - Slowdive

View Article  5 A Day - 28/02/12

Heron Blue - Sun Kil Moon

This Old Dark Machine - James Vincent McMorrow

would we be alive - NO MEANS NO

Telstar - The Tornados

Hurricane Fighter Plane - Red Crayola

View Article  5 A Day - 27/02/12

Mirrors - Crocodiles

Who Was In My Room Last Night? - Butthole Surfers

Floating Vibes -Surfer Blood

Shipbuilding - Robert Wyatt

Vitamin C - Can

View Article  5 A Day - 26/02/12

I Ain't Marching Anymore -Phil Ochs

Nothing Left To Lose - The Wipers

This Is Not A Love Song - Public Image Limited

Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft -Wedding Present

Needle Of Death – Bert Jansch

View Article  5 A Day - 25/02/12

Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith

In The Midnight Hour - Wilson Pickett

Non È Per Sempre - Afterhours

Oxygen - Willy Mason

Reward -The Teardrop Explodes

View Article  5 A Day - 23/02/12

Make Out Club - Unrest

Blues Control - Blues Control

Ghost Town -The Specials

Los Angeles -X

Road To Joy -Bright Eyes

View Article  Auditory Cheesecake and the Origins of Music

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.

View Article  5 A Day - 16/02/12

Glitter - No Age

There's Always Room On The Broom - Liars

Rest In Peace - Prince Rama

I Apologize - Hüsker Dü

Blue - Joni Mitchell

View Article  5 A Day - 14/02/12

I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen

National Express -The Divine Comedy

Hurt Feelings - Flight Of The Conchords

Get Up Offa That Thing - James Brown

Love Is The Drug - Roxy Music

View Article  5 A Day - 10/02/12

Ever Since - Dirty Three

American Trilogy - The Delgados

Time To Waste - Alkaline Trio

Many Rivers To Cross - Jimmy Cliff

This Is Music - The Verve

View Article  5 A Day - 09/02/12

Shuffle - Bombay Bicycle Club

Pretty Fucked Up - Supersuckers

Angel - Massive Attack

If You Wanna - The Vaccines

All My Life -Evan Dando

View Article  5 A Day - 08/02/12

Shadow Of A Doubt - Sonic Youth

Hyper-Ballad - Björk

The Robots - Kraftwerk

Pretty In Pink - Original Version - The Psychedelic Furs

Who Knows Where The Time Goes? - Fairport Convention

View Article  Music Origins and Group Selection

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.

View Article  5 A Day - 07/02/12

Walking In My Shoes (Single Version) - Depeche Mode

Zebra - Beach House

Invalid Litter Dept. - At The Drive-In

Moonshadow - Cat Stevens

Wannabe In L.A - Eagles Of Death Metal

View Article  5 A Day - 06/02/12

    Nearly Lost You - Screaming Trees

    A New England - Billy Bragg

    La Canzone Che Scrivo Per Te - Marlene Kuntz

    Such Great Heights - The Postal Service

    Thirteen - Big Star

  

View Article  5 A Day - 03/02/12

Party Hard - Andrew W.K.

Stoner Jam - Blood On The Wall

Nothing To Be Done - The Pastels

Get Away - Yuck

Benediction - Thurston Moore

View Article  5 A Day - 02/02/12

Blow My Mind - Thee American Revolution

A House Is Not A Motel - Love

Set Me Free - The Sand Band

The Artist In The Ambulance - Thrice

A Girl Like You - The Wolfgang Press

View Article  5 A Day - 01/02/12

Is It Alright - Mikal Cronin

Human Fly - The Cramps

You're Not Me - Ty Segall

Slave Exchange - Lil Daggers

Balthazar's Song - Hiss Golden Messenger

View Article  5 A Day - 31/01/12

Street Joy - White Denim

Bed Of Nails - Wild Beasts

Don’t Carry It All - The Decemberists

L.A. Rain - Rose Of Avalanche

Black Steel - Tricky

View Article  5 A Day - 30/01/12

Pass For Normal - Culturcide

The Death of a Young Student - Stairs

Five Years Ahead Of My Time - The Third Bardo

Becoming A Jackal - Villagers

Action Woman - The Litter

View Article  5 A Day - 28/01/12

Myrrh - The Church

Storm Coming - Sun Dial

Pink Frost - The Chills

Lynn-Marie #2 – Ultra Vivid Scene

Sam Stone - John Prine

View Article  Music Origins: Music and dance as a coalition signalling system

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.  

View Article  5 A Day - 27/01/12

I Don't Want Love - The Antlers

Salt Of The Earth -The Rolling Stones

Need One - Martina Topley Bird

Grace Beneath The Pines - The For Carnation

Werewolves Of London -Warren Zevon

View Article  5 A Day - 26/01/12

Heaven's On Fire - The Radio Dept.

Heron Blue - Sun Kil Moon

Float On - Modest Mouse

Baby it’s Over - Tall Dwarfs

Zebra - Beach House

View Article  5 A Day - 25/01/12

Spend, Spend, Spend - The Slits

Babydoll - Hole

Angel Echoes - Four Tet

Is There A Ghost - Band of Horses

Release The Bats - The Birthday Party

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