We are all aware that music and “atmosphere” go together. We might put on relaxing music for a quiet romantic dinner, but listen to something livelier while doing some physical work or exercise or when out socializing in larger groups. You might have heard of farmers who increase production by playing music to their animals. Recent studies showing that listening to fast music while driving increases the rate of car accidents and the Mozart Effect claims to increase intelligence. While some claims may be exaggerated, there is no denying that music can be suggestive and affect our state of mind. But the reason for this is very mysterious. Why should organized sounds affect us to such an extent that billions are spent annually making music? The main aspects of music which influence us can be summed up as:
Tempo & Rhythm
Pitch Melody and Harmony
Music suggests movement as it moves in time. Tempo and Rhythm is combined to have an immediate physical impact on our perceptions. The rhythm of an object suggest more or less frequent movement to qualify the repetitive nature of the underlying beat, even though the tempo of a piece of music might be slow and relaxed. The tempo of a piece of music roughly equates with the heartbeat associated with corresponding state or emotions that the music suggest. A high frequent of notes can suggest a degree of contained excitement within that relaxed state. Music tends to have a steady tempo to it, often measured in “beats per minute “. Most of the music based on simple observation is in the range of 50-200 beats per minute, the same as the extreme range of our heartbeats.
Anything in the range 60-80 beats per minute is calm and relaxed, less than 60 often very relaxed, introspective or even depressed. 80-100 is moderately alert and interested. 100 upwards is increasingly lively, excited or agitated and, since we crave some degree of excitement from our entertainment, 80-120 is quite a common tempo, and even 120-160 is common in some energetic situations, since there is a strong degree of suggestion between the heartbeat and music tempo. Music moves in time and suggests movement, and we tend to associate music unconsciously with movements made by our bodies while talking, walking, running, dancing, riding, etc.
Pitch, Melody & Harmony
Pitch on its own affects our perception. It depends on how we perceived sounds and music providing a basic scale from” high= light, happy, carefree” to” low = dark, sad, ominous.” We must find a large thing more threatening than a smaller one as part of our evolutionary heritage. In general bigger objects make deeper noises whether long column of air or long strings in a musical instrument, big chest, large animal footsteps, or large objects banging together. Conversely smaller instruments, short columns of air, short strings, small animals or objects make higher pitch noises. A Melody can be preferred if sounds are reasonably close together with a variety of nice harmonious intervals between them and a rhythm is similar to that of speech. A good melody (even if it doesn’t have words) is often one that we could hum, sing or whistle. Generally melody consists of a linear sequence of tones. The notes should have durations which are not too short and not too long, and should not be in an extreme range or shouldn’t have large awkward jumps between them. Although instrumental musical can stretch those boundaries a little, melodies in its way are very similar to sentences that our brains are designed to speak and listen to.
Harmony is the combination of tones with different pitches, Even though some are seem to be close to the combination of notes is completely the natural set of different notes produced by something vibrating and easily demonstrated musically of brass instruments. Those “natural “(without keys) instruments such as bugle, octaves, fifths and thirds produced are a series of notes. That is so well together to make “harmonious ” sounds like major chords. String instruments can be demonstrate the lowest notes of the harmonic series by playing the strongest ” harmonics” of the strings which divide the length into fractions like halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, etc. All that varies in degrees within all notes, and their proportions help to make sounds their unique color or tones, is always presented by harmonic.
Repetition is the simplest form of PATTERN. If we see something familiar, then it triggers memories and related thoughts are sometimes consciously and unconsciously. The repetition need not to be exact but “similar” enough to trigger familiarity. The aspects of our intelligence allowed us to adopt in so many different climates and conditions that make the best use of available shelter and resources, to build language and culture to communicate to each other in succeeding generations. It also allow us to appreciate and to create pattern for its own sake in the form of visual and aural arts which human brains particularly seem to have a highly developed and flexible pattern recognition capability.
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