More often than not, we tend to look for meanings in lyrics of the song. Many vocalists, before they perform, tend to explain what they are singing about and then sing. However, music’s calming effect is felt not by understanding but by the tonal effect. Alain de Botton explains this using lullaby and the story of Cerberus from Greek mythology as an example.
That’s why music is something we need and not merely a want.
The tonal effect of music is not just felt by babies and human beings, in general, but, is also, felt by dogs. The calm yet assertive tone of the master makes dogs listen to him. That’s one reason we shouldn’t yell and shout on top of our voices to get our point across. We must control our tone yet be assertive when we want to communicate our point across to someone. That’s another takeaway from music.
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Here's how we can use our microphones - by whispering and controlling our tone.
A friend of mine who is an amazing guitar player and who loves to play his guitars once thought that if he had a small home studio, he would be able to play more, record more, and release more albums. He got fixated on this idea that he started focussing more on his day job to make money to build his own home studio. He spent a good lot of money, time, and energy in the last couple of years to make his home studio well equipped with all the latest gadgets and technology that would help to make his dream into a reality. But it came with a cost - a big one, that too. He hardly touched his guitars while he was busy setting up his studio. The very pleasure that motivated him to do all this didn’t give him enough time and energy to enjoy that pleasure.
Many of us get ‘fixated’ on our interests so much that it becomes a major hurdle in turning our dreams and ideas into reality.
While infrastructure (tools, technology, money) aids the process of skill development, it is not same as skill development. All of these doesn’t make sense if it robs us of the most important resource we have - time. The question we should be asking is how much infrastructure is enough infrastructure that provides us enough time and energy to work on developing skills that we are interested in.
Pleasure-point analysis of your interests can help resolve this issue of fixation.
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Being a blogger and a netizen, I have observed on several web forums/communities that music has been categorized often as an ‘entertainment’ in the drop-down lists. While there are many that consider music as an entertainment, there are also, others who consider music as an art.
Entertaining music need not be artistic enough and art music need not be entertaining enough. Do listen to the differences in compositions and playing styles in classical music and popular film/pop music and you will understand what I am talking about.
It can be inferred from our cultural mythology and literature that this difference in the entertainment and art components of music could be a result of our inability to deal with boredom.
Here's a possible reason that explains many great musicians are unpopular due to their inability or a lack of interest to amuse and entertain the masses with their music.
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Musician, Peter Gabriel in his conversation with Alain de Botton makes a case for music as a consolation and solace to our daily troubles. He also, talks about his new project called the Interspecies internet and how apes can understand, listen, and play music as much as humans do. Below are some of the highlights of this talk.
We make music for a number of reasons from finding a mate to seeking retreat. Compared to other forms of communication that goes through several filters in our bodily systems, music is a sort of quicker release but, it may not be as precise a weapon as a word. A collection of music is like a box of pills, certain songs delivering certain emotional functions, they may be to calm you down, to comfort you, to excite you.
There’s an area of emotional map that hasn’t been covered and you try to create a song for that. Music can be like an axe in a frozen sea which is equipped from nature. We lock away a lot of ourselves and there are a lot of instruments that finally break them open.
Fear is a big element and is often, undervalued. Bravery is the flip side of fear, fear well-channelled. I am a musician and I pretty much got away doing anything calling what I do as work. That’s probably getting a little more comfortable in dealing with your fears.
The below quote from the interview reinforces the argument that nothing is original and everything is a remix in music.
I must also, add that in Indian Carnatic music most of the lyrical elements are based on Hindu gods, religion, and philosophy (something similar to the gospels in Christianity), the crux of the theme being consolation and therapy to the wounded clueless soul. Peter says something similar on these lines as follows:
He goes on to describe about this new project, Interspecies internet.
Watch his fascinating conversation with Alain here.