Music and You – Liberating Your Mind!
I think many of us will definitely agree on one point – Music is a quintessential aspect of our life! Some of us eat, breathe and live music – be it world, trance, rock, R&B, country, classic, soul, reggae,indie pop,hip-hop. The list is long but the passion remains an integral part of our lives. Music was used as a tool to impart education during the early Greek civilization. Let’s trace the wonderful collaboration between our existence and the harmony of music. Read on to discover the impact which music has on us!
Tracing the Roots!
As per the classical ideal of Greek’s, education was meant for integrating the different domains of mind and body. When gymnastics or physical exercise was primarily meant for the body, the mind was taken care of by the arts.
‘Musike’ is the Greek word for ’the arts’ and it is also related to the word muse. The famous nine muses sat on Parnassus, entertained and instructed the gods. The Muses personified different forms of dance recitals and song, as they were an important part of poetry. Musical instruments were a part of these recitals.
Music was a source to bring the young into the fold of tradition: as the poets mostly sang of what was, is and would come in the future. Hence, cultural norms were again reinforced among youngsters while they listened to these tales, repeated and performed them.
Women were also not left far behind in this musical journey. Many grandmothers and mothers were the storehouse of all these traditional tales. They gave voice to these tales.
Laws of Harmony!
In the early times, Greeks speculated that musical harmonies were more than just sweet melodies – these expressed fixed numerical ratios! In the later years, all the fanciful stories associated the moment of inspiration with most unlikely events.
For example, Pythagoras, the famous mathematician who gave the Pythagoras theorem, heard a blacksmith working once. The blacksmith was hammering various notes with different-sized hammers.
Seriously, some wise man actually noted this wonderful discovery – the pitch made by musical instruments, especially stringed ones, is based on the stretched string’s length. Hence, the notes produced relate to each other as well as to these lengths in specific proportions, that can be expressed in whole numbers!
So, you’ll be surprised to know that the pleasing music was considered to be the result of structured ratios, expressing order and regularity. The converse was also true: order and structure can be easily created by harmony.
The Pythagoreans announced their discovery and tried to apply it to the visible (as well as invisible) world! The world which we see around us was considered similar to a musical scale created by a tension of opposed forces.
All these opposed forces were everywhere – sometimes co-existing as a stretched bow, sometimes succeeding each other like winter and summer. Even events like life and death became a part of the cycle which balanced the starting with the end.
Music and Education – The Symbiotic Relationship!
Similar to medicine, music finally became the physical medium for reconciling various discords and oppositions. Medicine’s main aim was to find a balance between the opposing forces in the body, whereas music primarily focused on the soul, which was the ancient term for what we now know as mind.
The affective and evocative power of music has always been an integral part of humankind’s collective experience. For example, Orpheaus and the various cults which followed his myth, portrayed the power of music over the various joys and sorrows of man.
The emotional power of music as well as the emotional expression via music were responsible for making it the ideal medium to impart education. Hence, music was integrated into educational programs to balance the conflicts and discords within the soul of man.
As music could easily have a profound effect on the emotions as well as the subsequent actions of men, Plato warned that musical innovations must not go unchecked. This might disturb the citizen’s emotional stability and overall constitution.
We humans are cheerfully optimistic beings, and different musical tastes are allowed to work on our emotions. Letting people choose what they wish to hear is actually letting them choose what they truly want to be!
For the uninitiated and skeptics, here is a word of advice: listening to peaceful music will definitely soothe you, listening to sweet melodies always lightens your burden if you carry any. Of late, it has been discovered that music, even background music, can improve work efficiency. This holds true especially in repetitive and boring jobs!
In Tune With Existence!
While our body toils and works hard, our spirit connects with the eternal. The sorrow of one coexists with the joyous condition of the other! More than any other activity, music transports us from the possibilities of time and place to a different realm altogether – both ordered and timeless.
The Pythagoreans considered music as a key to unlock the mysteries of the universe. A person who could hear and understand the association between its obvious different and distinct parts, was truly divinely inspired!
Even though music gives immense pleasure to those who love it, it gives utmost delight to those who truly understand how it personifies the sacred structure of the universe. A person who can harmonize his own mind will get attuned with the order of things – even though the heard melodies are considered sweet, unheard ones are more sweeter!
I believe that music liberates your mind and soul in a way which no other activity could possibly achieve! I also firmly believe that “ music is a higher revelation than philosophy”. If you too believe in the power of music, keep listening on!