Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Why I like music...

Music is great in so many ways.

Music is a universal language. It bridges gaps between cultures that spoken languages simply can’t, leading the way to shared feelings and emotions. It brings people together and creates communities.

Many travelers – even to this very day – take musical instruments with them on trips. In the early days of exploration music could help “set” the mood, expressing the fact the visitors came in peace out of curiosity and were not a threat.

According to biomusicologists, music entered the world from the time animals started to roam the earth and have a very important role in socialisation. Most notably the songs of birds and humpback whales have inspired many of our own composers.

Music inspires and evokes emotion in a healthy way. It touches our emotional being and evokes moods and feelings that are sometimes difficult to express in words.

Music creates ambiance. You can use music to enhance any environment. That’s why it’s used to create dramatic tension in movies or build up a sense of anticipation at sporting events.

Music is spiritual. Music is of the spirit and inspirational to the spirit. All religions use music to help express spiritual values and all religions use music to uplift the spirit.

When Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance was crushed in a thousand miles of Antarctic pack ice in November 1915, he allowed each of his crew to take 2lb of possessions from it, including their boots.

Only one exception was made to this rule: he let his meteorologist Leonard Hussey also salvage his banjo from the sinking ship. Even Hussey was surprised by that decision, but "the boss" was adamant: "It will be vital mental medicine," he said. And so it proved. Music, as Shackleton well knew, was as good a defence as anything against cold and dark and oblivion.

Music sparks the imagination. It invokes mental imagery and inner scenery that opens the mind to amazing insights.

I’m sometimes amazed by the ability of great music to reveal new things. Music intensifies with repetition – like memories whose pleasure and significance grow with the passing of time.

I'd find it really hard to pick my top ten pieces of music. Perhaps I need to warm up to that by picking my favourite songs in each sub-genre of music!

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