Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Music : My Multivites

Just updated "Listening to my favorite tunes..." on Twitter.

There is hardly a day that would go pass without me listening to a tune or two. I enjoy music (don't you?).

I see music as a universal language to human kind. You need not be trained in music to like music. You need not be musically talented to recognize a nice tune. You need not understand the lyrics to start humming along... Before you know it, your feet would be tapping along with the rhythm.

Such are the powers and wonders of music.

It is difficult to define music. I have not been taught how to theoretically or philosophically define it. Essentially, music is just sound to me - any sound that is created in a manner that pleases me.

I suppose music comes naturally to human. It is part of nature. It is part of human basic needs. Since a long time ago, before we can even talk about human civilization, historians believe that we have started to enjoy music. Surely there were no music schools back then. In fact, I don't suppose music education is a prerequisite for music enjoyment and appreciation.

In fact, music was not made based on music theories. Rather, music theories were created based on what musicians had composed. Music theories were standardised to ease music teaching and communication within the music fraternity.

It was recently reported that scientists in Germany discovered flutes made from bird bones and mammoth tusk dated back 35,000 years ago. It is believed that these are the oldest musical instruments found to date. If you like, this serves as an evidence that music was widespread even during the pre-historic times.

This discovery leaves little doubt that music has been part of our lives since a very long time ago.

Some mothers believe in pre-natal stimulation for their unborn babies. It involves talking and playing classical music (preferably Mozart) regularly. I am not entirely sure of the benefits it brings but I can imagine the babies tapping their little toes to the tune of the music (LOL).

A farmer in UK claimed that playing soothing music to his cows was the secret to winning the World Cheese Awards. He reckoned that the tunes calmed the cows during milking in the parlour.

Researchers agreed as they found out that each cow produced 3% more milk a day when slow music (rather than fast music) was played. They have evidence that calming music reduces stress in animals, as well as people. I suppose that is why the Kobe cows, which produce the world's most expensive beef, have music as part of their routine ritual.

I like all kinds of music. From classical to pop, from jazz to rock and from western to oriental. So long as they sound nice to me, I do not decide if I should like them based on genre. Different types of music goes well with different occasions, moods, time of the day and companions. When played well, they are all equally therapeutic.
I get inspiration from all around me and that includes music (see Be Inspired To Seek Inspiration). Singing and dancing have never been my forte but that does not diminish my admiration for great songs and dances.

Animals can be inspired by music too. Watch Nora the 'Piano Cat' in action. Nora began sitting at the piano at about one-year-old she is six now)and she plays whenever she is in the mood for a tune. Frostie, a 20-year old Cockatoo, proves that animals can have a good sense of rhythm too. Watch him dance to the tune of soul singer, Ray Charles' "Shake Your Tail Feather".

The TV channels have been streaming Michael Jackson's music videos in the past few days. I cannot help but feeling the huge loss the music world is suffering. He is such a great talent in song and dance. Unfortunately, there has been a lot mixed-up opinions about him because people are unable to judge him solely based on his music talent.

I am not trained in any musical instruments but I have been laying my hands on guitars and keyboard from time to time. It would have been a compliment if you say that I am amateurish. Notwithstanding that, I enjoy making music my way (much to the disapproval of the hard-line music players). The thing is, we should not predefine music. It should just flow with how we feel it should be.

I cannot imagine a world without music even though I was close to being in one.

I had an unpleasant 'birthday present' in July last year. For almost the whole month, my left ear went entirely deaf. I was made to live in a non-stereoscopic world where music became monotone and dull. It was utterly frustrating and I wanted my stereo sound back so badly. There were many visits to the doctors, lots of pain, anxiety and even anger. After what seemed like forever, it was finally 'fixed' and the good old surround sound returned. I felt so grateful that I could hear again.

I am sure it must be many times worse in a world with zero sound.

I tend to get a little edgy after a prolonged deprivation of music. Somewhere in me is hungry and need to be fed, with music. It is not a fetish, in case you begin to think so. I have come to realise that there are lots of benefits that come with music which many may have taken for granted.

In a way, music is nourishing to our minds and souls. It complements our moods and help us relief stress and anxiety. For example, when listening to soothing music, our heartbeat actually slows down, blood pressure reduces and respiration deepens. In that state, the body turns on its healing mechanism and promotes rejuvenation.

When I feel down, music washes away the blues. When I am happy, music makes me happier. When I need some ideas, music gives me suggestions. When I need some isolation, music erects the walls. When I need to reach out, music is the bridge. It is like the multivites to my life.

My tunes are coming to an end and I shall just wrap up here.

can name the unnameable and
communicate the unknowable."

- Leonard Bernstein -
(American Conductor, Composer and Pianist, 1918-1990)

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