Music has the Power

Just yesterday I was listening a piece of music titled “La Follia” by Antonio Vivaldi. Just listen to it and let your imagination free to fly. When I hear the sounds of the strings playing all together, I feel myself flying in a sea of pictures and emotions.

I can see a crazy inventor that, absorbed by a magical intuition, starts writing or drawing his art. I imagine a strong wind, blowing from everywhere, moving leaves and trees. And suddenly I feel a great strength in all my body and in my soul.

So I started thinking about the power that music has on me. I mean the pure music, the instrumental one. Music without lyrics. In fact throw a text it’s easy to relate a word to its meaning. If I say “table” you will think about what for you is a table.

Music use a different approach. For a long time I have been thinking music has a kind of transcendent power. It seems like a secret language. But instead of speaking to our mind, it communicate directly with our heart.

But what about this is true?

What make us feel music as an emotional communication vehicle? How can we feel strong and joyful, or tired and sad, after listening to music?

Scientist agree on the fact that music has real effect on human physiology. Depending on what kind of music we listen to, our body can modify our heart beating and blood flow. It can release dopamine and endorphins. It allow our mind to access more easily to specific mnemonic contents.

These are only some of the reactions that we have when we listen (notice that I wrote listen… with listen I mean being present in the action of listening not only heard a sound) to music.

Ok, and what about emotions?

First of all, let’s put a simple definition. For me an emotion is a phsico-physics situation that a person feels (consciously or unconsciously) and that influence strongly his/her believes and behaviour. In few words an emotion is how we perceive the world in a specific instant.

We represent our reality through the filter of our senses (visual, audiovisual, tactile etc.). And thanks of it we create an internal representation of our reality. Emotions depend both from our internal representation and our physiology. So, if music changes our physiology, emotions should change too.

Wow! One point! But what about our internal representation? Why music make us daydreaming? Make us picturing imaginary images?

Stephen Davies, philosopher in ascetics of music, supported the Appearance emotionalism theory.  Music is not emotional itself. We just expect it to be , because we identify the meaning of music in something else. We define a song as happy or sad, because we see an analogy. Sounds and rhythms of music are identified as other experience that we have already lived. So when we hear a series of sounds, we give them specific meanings, basing on our experience.

For example, when we hear a strong unexpected sound while we are comfortably at home (reading this blog 🙂 ), our first reaction could be fear. This because our mind has a sort of “database” of  instinctive reactions depending of the situation. As the verbal communication (the words) mean something to us, so it do music. The difference is that music is a different language and it doesn’t follow strictly the roles of human communication. We hear something and we translate it in our way. The way in which we translate that languages, brig us to specific reactions. And this means that it could be different from person-to-person.

So, for today it’s all.

Thanks for reading and see you to the next post,

Alberto

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