Music for the soul
For most of us, think stress busting and we immediately think of music. Music perhaps has been one of the oldest forms of entertainment and relaxation that we can think of. You would hardly find someone who would not like music of some sort or the other. The various genres of music that have evolved over the years are testimony to the fact that there is something out there for everyone. From classical to traditional to jazz to pop to rock to hip hop to electronica or electronic music, it has evolved based on our preferences, lifestyles and popularity. There are enough studies that have been conducted to prove that music releases stress and one can easily read up on all this if one wants to. However, this is one topic where you don’t need proof in the form of studies. All you need to do is switch on your favorite relaxing music when you are in a slightly stressful mood to realize that it is the best form of stress buster that you can get. Music touches our souls like nothing else and that is the reason why it has this tremendous effect on our bodies and helps us to relax. You could choose to go for soothing music or for some it could be loud music to sing along or dance away their blues.
Across the years
Music is nothing but sound and at the core of it is the various vibrations that lend a certain melody and appeal to it. It may be the human voice or the various musical instruments that accompany it. Across the years we have also seen how various electronic musical instruments have evolved. These came up in the early 60s and 70s when synthesizers were used by the pop music bands and gained wide popularity. From then on, the synthesizers have evolved to such an extent that you could make music just with them. Unlike earlier days where the artists used to perform for the recording, all in one go, now you may have things recorded in parts and then mixed up as and how you want it. These could be spiced up with the help of synthesizers that enable you to imitate musical instruments like piano, organ, flute, or natural sounds like ocean waves etc. Basically synthesizers generate electric signals that are converted to sound through instrument amplifiers and loudspeakers or headphones. Now there are even classical music composers who compose for synthesizer. This is because of the fact that technological advances have electronic music to such an extent that it can no longer be ignored. If you want to make music and you want to reach out and touch as many people as possible, electronica is the way to go. You cannot choose to forego the fact that electronic music generated with the help of synthesizers, provide you an upper hand and is certainly superior as compared to our earlier ways of making music. Electronic music albums by Beaver and Krause and White Noise reached a wide audience and progressive rock musicians such as Richard Wright of Pink Floyd and Rick Wakeman of Yes, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock also started using the new portable synthesizers to good effect and helped in popularizing it.
Music as medicine
It might sound absurd, but yes, there have been enough studies that prove that music provides that coveted healing touch and aids as a medicine. Across many universities and medical research centers studies ranging from lullabies for premature babies to pediatric patients to palliative care to Parkinson’s disease have been conducted. These have only strengthened what we ordinary humans already know that music has a way of touching our inner core and elicits a strong response from our minds and bodies. It is mostly the various vibrations that form the music that works on our bodies and synthesizers and electronic music play a big part in this. The body responds well when the mind allows it to and you move into a state of relaxation. Even other medicines and therapies become effective when your body and mind are more relaxed and music certainly helps with that. So music therapy, which uses relaxing music could soon be a reality and when even doctors will vouch for it, you can’t really argue with that fact.
Music as a means of communication
Guess no one can really trace the origin of music for it is as old and as historic as our civilizations itself. Perhaps if you think about it, music might have evolved as a need to communicate better, to reach out and touch people. This can be felt in those olden day traditional songs that carry the folklores of yonder years and whisk you away to a surreal world through the music and lyrics. Music has always been used to tell stories and also to convey some socially relevant messages. Yes, music is a better means of communication in place of normal conversation. The human mind is certainly more receptive to melodious, tuneful sounds that compel it to listen rather than normal conversations that the mind may wander away from.
Ketil Lien aka Wim