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Why do humans like music?

 
 
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 03:57 am
(From the point of view of a being evolving towards better characteristics to survive somehow it doesn't make much sense... excepting the evident cultural one).

My doubt is, should we like music at all?

(In case, I do like music, I even play the trumpet and the violin -a bit).
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 6,844 • Replies: 39
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Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 07:21 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
I went to school with someone with Asperger syndromewho hated music. For some reason no music seemed to click for him.

I think music and dance are two necessary traits that are necessary for humans. Both produce a kind of euphoric sense that I think is necessary for human happiness.
0 Replies
 
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 10:32 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
Because music has a way of resonating with our internal emotions.

Or it is a by product of evolution. Perhaps our musical inclinations grew out of mating calls?
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 11:35 am
@de Silentio,
Cognitive Studies show that music, rhythm, and especially beat synchronizes various normally mosaic brain functions.
0 Replies
 
paulhanke
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 02:41 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
Perhaps our musical inclinations grew out of mating calls?


... that's one of the pending hypotheses ... Darwin hypothesized that the general intellectual evolution of hominids created co-evolutionary pressure on vocal skill and that "rudimentary song" emerged as an ancient form of hominid communication ... under this hypothesis, music plucks at the vestiges of this form of communication, evoking very old (emotional) responses ...
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 04:26 pm
@paulhanke,
Communication, as in African drumming, has given rise to many musical techniques such as 'call and response' used in Jazz improv' all the time... watch a couple of brass Jazz heads do some call and response improv' and it is like they are talking to each other, each one extending or reacting to the other. Also, our body has a natural pulse and I think this has something to do with dance and our natural rhythm.

But anyway the evolutionary view of art in general can be taken down a 'community' route which highlights spare cognitive abilities, practice and the communal benefits of art (music specifically.) This is a very popular idea that from boredom sprung recreations, from recreation sprung the community benefits and so on... (this is Neolithic btw) the first instrument we have is a bone pipe from 7,000-9,000 BC.

Any way, the focus is on musical cults (goths, punks etc.) and music community. It is almost with a religious and sacred attitude that some people attend raves and festivals today.

And let's not forget drugs, maybe when man first used drugs he created art? How implausible is that considering we know we were making multi-tonal music before 9,000 BC?

Personally I think it was as stated above, a certain amount of self sufficiency was set up giving us free time, giving way to twiddling and fiddling, which in turn gave rise to recreation, which in turn gave birth to basic art, which developed into the complex communal tool of worship, praise, celebration etc. I also assume vocal communication and drumming as communication played a big role in defining the idea of music somehow.

Dan.

I thought about it and re-read the question, and I think the 'communal' explination of worship, praise and celebration would explain tidely why we 'like' music and why it is so emotional...
BeatsMeWhy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jul, 2008 01:55 am
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:

And let's not forget drugs, maybe when man first used drugs he created art? How implausible is that considering we know we were making multi-tonal music before 9,000 BC?

(...)

I thought about it and re-read the question, and I think the 'communal' explination of worship, praise and celebration would explain tidely why we 'like' music and why it is so emotional...


If you are right, we ought to learn not to like music... for our own good!
:perplexed:

Do you think it is somewhat a drug? Something we use to feel better without really solving the problems we have?

Regards,
S.
0 Replies
 
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Jul, 2008 10:17 am
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:

And let's not forget drugs, maybe when man first used drugs he created art? How implausible is that considering we know we were making multi-tonal music before 9,000 BC?


Skip to 4 minutes.

YouTube - History Of The World Part 1 - The Stone Age
Deftil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 02:00 am
@de Silentio,
This is an interesting question. I can usually at least come up with my own hypothesis for just about any aspect of the human condition, but on this one, I'm at a loss. How strange!
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 03:14 am
@Deftil,
Imitation of the environment. Many tunes can be related back to bird calls, drums are a reflexion , not just of pulses but stampedes even a single cat and prey chase. The weather, water and wind all have an effect on rhythm and harmony and music can reflect this, from Mike Oldfield who would use a thousand instruments to express what Jean Michel Jarre could do it with a synthesiser. The emotion that Sabicas could draw from the point of bleak insanity, with just a guitar and his improvised lyrics, is evidence we are addicted to music itself. Gregorian chants and opera, even yoddling (for you folk out there) says that an instrument isn't the only part of music but music can help embelish the story.
BeatsMeWhy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 03:19 am
@urangutan,
But, why may be music of use? Is it a sage choice to like music and to spend time on it?
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Aug, 2008 06:58 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
I think you will find an answer to that from what others have expressed. It may be a combination of some or all and it may differ individually. Think of somebody who cannot hear, reflecting on the weight of the thumping eminating from the speakers or instrument. If there are Gods and not a single entity, then music is a definite God.
0 Replies
 
No0ne
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Aug, 2008 05:20 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW wrote:
(From the point of view of a being evolving to wards better characteristics to survive somehow it doesn't make much sense... excepting the evident cultural one).

My doubt is, should we like music at all?

(In case, I do like music, I even play the trumpet and the violin -a bit).


Why do humans like music?

Vibration's where most likely the first mean for a cell to detect another cell , by the vibration which would give them a ability of distinguish one thing from another.( Hence the first detection system was most likely "music")

Since all thing's have a form of vibration to them, it's likely for a cell to identify another cell by its vibration or in the case of compound's, most likely the amount of vibration's the compound/material would absorb.(there for it could distinguish one thing from another)

So if its true, then its no wonder that once those base cells have become complex organism, that they would still react to different forms of vibration's resulting in chemical alteration to the body depending on the sought after vibration/music, resulting in sensation's of pleasure, relaxation, etc.

(If true then the first categorization system was a vibration based categorization system.)
FatalMuse
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Aug, 2008 06:05 pm
@No0ne,
I have a few points on why I think people find different forms of music pleasurable:

1. Movement/Dancing: Good music makes me want to move my body, sometimes it feels involuntary, and the movement that results seems to release pleasure sensations. Dancing is widely accepted as being a vehicle for endorphin rushes. There is also a link between pressure on the balls of feet and pleasure release. Obviously this doesn't apply to a lot of music and to people who don't dance or move to music.

2. Giving more power to words: Music can emphasize written words. So when a musician performs a song, they not only have all the powers of vocal poetry but also the added emphasis of shifts in pitch, tonality and rhythm. (Personally, this one is particularly important to me as I primarily enjoy music that has either poetic language or deals with social histories through song).

3. Marking time: Because most music is clearly structured in terms of rhythm, this is effectively another method of marking or observing the passage of time. In my opinion, it appeals to the human brain because it is another way of trying to understand time, make sense of it - another form of time-structure.

4. Emotion: We're emotional creatures. A lot of music involves the aural expression of emotion. In some passages of song you can hear the strained sounds of pain or sorrow, the elated sounds of happiness or mania, in the singers voice which can in turn stir similar emotions or sympathy in the listener. This doesn't apply strictly to vocal music, as many instruments seems to mimic or emulate vocal sounds. I think a great example of this is how people will often describe a 'haunting violin piece', or possibly akin to the sound of a cat being strangled. Through music, humans try and capture the sounds and tone of human emotion. Shared emotions reinforce humanity and the common ground among people.

I guess I'm essentially coming to the same conclusion many have made - it's yet another form of communicating emotions & ideas, another manisfestation of language. Communication seems to be one of the major sources of human pleasure.

But the thing that still fascinates me is how different scales, chords and intervals can affect different people to varying degrees of pleasure/pain. Most people would find loud machinery unpleasant to listen to, yet there are musical styles (whether we count them as music or not is another whole debate) that aren't too far removed from the sound of heavy machinery or factory noise.
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Aug, 2008 04:44 am
@FatalMuse,
Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Riverdance. Behdouin echo harmonies, Native Australians on didgeridoo to a Geisha playing the Japanese stringed instrument, (usually in pairs). I always thought it as called a tzetse but that is a fly.

I am getting really fed up with music in movies, you know the crap that senses the mood you should be in. It is like elevator music or breakfast radio. Kind of makes you want to kill. I will bet that a great contributer to 'roadrage' is "Breakfast" and the "Drive Home" radio programming. Not that it is music, no they think they are there because you prefer it to music, mundane gossip being broadcast like you don't have a life. It is like listening to truck drivers talk about a stretch of road between two shabby towns in the middle of nowhere where nobody goes, pothole details and how the white lines are fading from the constant abuse from drivers doing U-turns because they realise they are on the wrong route. You can bet that either member of the cast has had some experince to a life exasperating event that has hit the headlines, just to hold the attention of the others like sperm in a profalactic, while they all wait for calls from the people who are to damn straight to be on 'Jerry', but could probably do a cameo from the seats.

Peak hour radio that is filled with comercials to raise funds to pay the people who should be on death row as either inmates or toys for those there. I can't drive to that in heavy slow traffic.

8:45 PM, "CHIME, CHIME".
0 Replies
 
seerskater
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 09:17 pm
@No0ne,
i just dont get how our emotions are so intertwined with music. and by music, i dont just mean sound. music is when the vibrations of a sound repeat over and over. with just regular sound (like glass breaking), the vibrations are more random. and the emotion/music relationship doesnt seem to happen with just one note. notes have to be compared to each other to make an emotion. ahh i just dont get it. im not sure how many of you are familiar with music, but for those of you who are, you know a c major chord? why do we discerne that as a "happy" sound, and a c minor chord sounds more like a "sad" sound?

man its too late and im too sick right now to put together a comprehensive idea.
CarolA
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 10:19 pm
@urangutan,
I have only just joined the group so didn't see this post earlier. As a musician I have often thought about this, it seems almost irrational, yet is common to all humans (OK - know someone will quote a report of some obscure tribe in the back of nowhere that has no music).
When I don't play for several days I get restless and snappy, like someone trying to give up coffee or cigarettes. My thinking would be that it soothes the brain's activity, perhaps rather like the action of dreaming. Certainly for a music performer there is a certain amount of adrenaline buzz - but this doesn't explain the pleasure non-musicians get from music. I think there have been a few studies which show that students who play music learn faster and achieve more, but this still doesn't answer why.
No0ne
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 02:02 pm
@seerskater,
seerskater wrote:
i just dont get how our emotions are so intertwined with music. and by music, i dont just mean sound. music is when the vibrations of a sound repeat over and over. with just regular sound (like glass breaking), the vibrations are more random. and the emotion/music relationship doesnt seem to happen with just one note. notes have to be compared to each other to make an emotion. ahh i just dont get it. im not sure how many of you are familiar with music, but for those of you who are, you know a c major chord? why do we discerne that as a "happy" sound, and a c minor chord sounds more like a "sad" sound?

man its too late and im too sick right now to put together a comprehensive idea.


When you hear a person talking to you, you must hear them with your ear, then your brain create's a reaction depending on your personality, tone of voice, loudness, and when it was said in a conversation.

So when you hear a song, you must hear it with you ear, the same way as you would with a person, so therefore the brain create's a reaction depending on your personality, tone, loudness, and when the song was played, ect...

This is due to the fact that for thousands of years people have used sound as a form of communication which has inprinted a form of action and reaction to any form of sound, even if it is not another person speaking.

:detective:So in a way, "music" is using the same system as "speech", therefore it can create or express emotion's and feeling's the same way as speech.

So that's why people feel, express, communicate, ect with "Muisc", for it's truly another way to verbaly express one's self...

So I hope that can answer your question of "why do we discerne that as a "happy" sound, and a c minor chord sounds more like a "sad" sound?"

(Well not all people due, it's wise not to classsife everyone in a single lable.)
0 Replies
 
SummyF
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 02:10 pm
@urangutan,
along with other things people can explore themselves

lsd can also give something missing


R.I.P albert houfman
0 Replies
 
BeatsMeWhy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 04:46 am
@CarolA,
CarolA wrote:
I have only just joined the group so didn't see this post earlier. As a musician I have often thought about this, it seems almost irrational, yet is common to all humans (OK - know someone will quote a report of some obscure tribe in the back of nowhere that has no music).
When I don't play for several days I get restless and snappy, like someone trying to give up coffee or cigarettes. My thinking would be that it soothes the brain's activity, perhaps rather like the action of dreaming. Certainly for a music performer there is a certain amount of adrenaline buzz - but this doesn't explain the pleasure non-musicians get from music. I think there have been a few studies which show that students who play music learn faster and achieve more, but this still doesn't answer why.


Hello, CarolA:

Well, why do we all assume that stopping to hear music is more like stopping to sleep rather than like stopping to smoke?

Haven't you considered the possibility of it being sort of an intellectual drug? Of course there might be some good side effects -calm, a feeling of happiness- but there might as well be some bad ones.

For example, don't you think that it would be much better to learn how to solve each problem we face rather than playing something or hearing some music? Don't you think there is a chance that our bad temper is more related to the fact that we know there is an easy option and therefore we don't want to face whatever is upsetting us? (And we are upset or sad or... hungry or something most of time... else we wouldn't even move).

As I have said before I also use part of my time to play and listen music, and lately it worries me...
 

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