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Why do humans like music?

 
 
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 06:50 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
While we can never know the earliest origins of music, we can say for certain that music was important by the time we have evidence. We would suspect that even at an earlier time, music and dance were inseparable, and more likely than not were a form of social interaction (Stravinsky's Rite of Spring may be more significant than just a ballet score).

Perhaps the earliest rhythm was 2/4 (march time) which matches the human heart beat. The most common key has been C; it is said that the sounds of nature are always in that key.
CarolA
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 10:52 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW wrote:
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...

Well, I guess if you want to sit in silence and do nothing it might be a good alternative, I prefer to do things and stay happy. "Facing" what is upsetting us can often mean using something like music or a brisk walk around the park to calm ourselves down. Oddly enough, sitting in silence and stewing over problems has never solved a single crisis in my life.
Being sad, upset or even hungry most of the time could also be a sign of ill health, it doesn't sound like a good way to feel.
CarolA
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 11:05 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:


Perhaps the earliest rhythm was 2/4 (march time) which matches the human heart beat. The most common key has been C; it is said that the sounds of nature are always in that key.


Hmm! and often having to work with amateur musicians I would say it is also the most popular because of the lack of flats and sharps!

Most European and Middle eastern folk music seems to be based on a pentatonic or minor pentatonic scale. Keep in mind that writing down music was a fairly recent idea, so C major was probably just a middle of the sound scale key. Before we had a tempered scale all the keys would have had a different sound, but that doesn't really matter so much with modern instruments.
0 Replies
 
BeatsMeWhy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 01:28 am
@CarolA,
CarolA wrote:
Well, I guess if you want to sit in silence and do nothing it might be a good alternative, I prefer to do things and stay happy. "Facing" what is upsetting us can often mean using something like music or a brisk walk around the park to calm ourselves down. Oddly enough, sitting in silence and stewing over problems has never solved a single crisis in my life.
Being sad, upset or even hungry most of the time could also be a sign of ill health, it doesn't sound like a good way to feel.


I don't mean I am precisely sad, upset or hungry all the time! Smile. It was a way of speaking.

I meant that whatever we do, we do it with te purpose of achieving something. I don't think a perfectly satisfied person would bother to move. You need to know that the move will not be a waste of energy.

Maybe, even being happy, you see the way of being even more happy. Or you fear stopping doing something would make you unhappy. For example, if I stopped working I would be in trouble. So, even if my job isn't exactly what I crave to do every single day, I still come.

Another example: Prozac will calm you, and, in case you are close to a crisis, maybe it is a good idea to take a pill not to go out of the window. But to take it everyday instead to learn to calm yourself doesn't seem adequate.

What I fear of music is that it isn't useful for itself. But for the effect listening to it, or playing it, produces. And you can easyly achieve the same efect, say, learning to solve a differential equation.

I think we accept music as a treat just because apparently there are no side effects. Happiness for free. But I am no more so sure about that... To have an easy option doesn't always pay, I think.

Hope my English is understandable enough... I'm not used to write, and reading is much easier.

Regards,

S.
0 Replies
 
Ennui phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 01:20 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
The possession of tranquil is inside music.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 06:26 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW wrote:
(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?


Absolutely! It's another form of communication... but one that leans towards the emotional. Sharing emotions has its own utility - not the least of which is strengthening the bonds between us. It can rally support, evoke empathy, calm the mood and much, much more!

  • The flow of a string quartet, in andante, communicates relaxation and flow
  • A soaring chorus, the swell of volume; elation, anger, desperation, etc.
  • The dirge; morose, loss, pain
  • A warm, lingering spanish guitar piece; tranquility
  • Moonlight Sonata; floating on warm air on a summer night
  • Rebellion, Angst, Worship, Adoration, Pleading, Elation, Dismissal, Loss and much, much more.

Yea, I'd say completely-useful and infinitely-flexible part of human communication that is indeed grounded in utility (use).

------
mattpresticom
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2008 10:05 pm
@Khethil,
i think because music precedes humans in the wave, music is a preceding free flow of idea and inspiration which produces a desired effect upon our sensing spirit, heart, and mind. We manifest the idea in song as the song manifests the idea of us which stimulates the pineal and satisfies the right brain...i like it because it's imagination driven.
0 Replies
 
seerskater
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 11:56 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW wrote:
Hello, CarolA:


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? .


when you are upset about something, you are not upset because of whatever is bothering you, you are upset because you know there is an easy way out?

I dont know about you, but i dont like to spend all of my time solving my problems. i guess in the way you consider music a "drug" you could consider anything recreational a drug.
BeatsMeWhy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 02:24 am
@seerskater,
seerskater wrote:
when you are upset about something, you are not upset because of whatever is bothering you, you are upset because you know there is an easy way out?

I dont know about you, but i dont like to spend all of my time solving my problems. i guess in the way you consider music a "drug" you could consider anything recreational a drug.


I enjoy enormously music. In fact I play the trumpet regularly. I like reading novels, and riding a bike. I have lots of fun playing with my youngest brother with paper planes. And I don't like spending all my time solving my problems. Many times, when I do have some problem, I choose to solve some logic puzzle instead.

Here is where the doubt arises. When I solve some real problem, be it as silly as figuring out the best configuration of my data files or how to keep my desk ordered or as serious as choosing the job that suits me better and manage to get it I feel just as great as when I just go to a concert.

And sometimes, after "disconnecting" a whole afternoon listening to or playing music, I find neglected stuff. Normally not important stuff, I'm quite responsible. It's stuff that can wait a day, a week, even a year. But I started to think of it and I don't recollect a single day of my life when I would have been able to say everyting was done (and I wonder if someone is ever able).

I know no human being will move a single finger in case they can't feel better by doing so. And, for me, music is one of the most efficient things to make me feel well enough to calculate I couldn't possibly feel any better whatever I do.

It's happiness for free. And that is economically unsound Smile. If happiness is meant to be our objective so that when we work to survive we feel happy (at least there seems to be little other explanation handy), whenever we do something to feel well that isn't really helping us, then we aren't doing as much as we could to really improve our life.

As for music, I wish very much to find out that it really is of use.
CarolA
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 06:48 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW wrote:


And sometimes, after "disconnecting" a whole afternoon listening to or playing music, I find neglected stuff. Normally not important stuff, I'm quite responsible. It's stuff that can wait a day, a week, even a year. But I started to think of it and I don't recollect a single day of my life when I would have been able to say everything was done (and I wonder if someone is ever able).


My feelings are that when you get to the stage of having nothing more to do then you either have a real problem or you have reached a stage of Nirvana. My rather restless spirit can always find another goal or a way of improving something, whether it's my musicianship, the garden or studying something. As for doubting whether something is "economically unsound" - that is the worst possible reason for liking something. Remember - everyone know who Mozart was, no-one remembers his accountant:bigsmile:.
0 Replies
 
Icon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 09:10 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
The human mind consists of several different portions which interact creating a complete being. The imagination or emotional side and the mathmatic or logic side. When someone is out of sync with either side, the other side is not capable of functioning as a controlling unit and so the person is, in essence, not complete. The vibrations of music have been linked to the psychosomatic alteration of the organs in the human body, especially heart rate. Increased heart rate promotes blood flow which promotes the brains ability to absorb chemicals at a higher rate which promotes emotional response depending on the recievers in the brain which are more active. It is important to understand and be able to control your emotional side as well as you control your logical side. If you can't then you are fairly useless. Music helps in this regard as it allows you to adjust heart rate and subdue or control strong emotional reactions. Music is a tool that we use to communicate ideas on a purely emotional level. Take classical music for instance. There is not a single word spoken but it can make you happy, sad, motivated, angry, paranoid all depending on the beat, tone and application.
BeatsMeWhy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 02:41 am
@Icon,
Icon wrote:
It is important to understand and be able to control your emotional side as well as you control your logical side. If you can't then you are fairly useless.


Yes, of course. In fact emotions seem to be there to induce us to act. It is the impulse to feel better that moves us to perform each action. If we couldn't compare between being sad or happy, same as between being hungry and satisfied, we would be far less efficient in keeping ourselves alive.

Emotions seem to be designed to indicate us wether we are gaining or losing resources.

Thus, yes. There I am with you. The more you understand and control your emotions, the better.

Icon wrote:
Music helps in this regard as it allows you to adjust heart rate and subdue or control strong emotional reactions.


Certainly. As I have already mentioned, so does Prozac.

Icon wrote:
Music is a tool that we use to communicate ideas on a purely emotional level. Take classical music for instance. There is not a single word spoken but it can make you happy, sad, motivated, angry, paranoid all depending on the beat, tone and application.


Is it good for us to receive just an emotion? If we feel something disturbing about our circumstances, how can it be a good idea to supress it just tuning our emotions, instead of atacking directly the cause?
Is this the kind of control we need over our emotions?

When I think about this coldly, I'd rather have my emotions tuned to what is happening so that I react accordingly than to Mahler's fifth symphony, however good it makes me feel to listen to it.

I think normally we over react to problems, because most people (and I am among them) have a trend to think themselves far less capable of solving problems than we really are [1]. I highly suspect that when music is better than no music it is because the first emotional reaction was not correct and we need to soothe it before being able to carry on.

I have come to think that if we really understood the purpose of our emotions and had the adequate feedback control over them, to change them by some artificial method would every time prove worse than to take arms against whatever sea of troubles we have got ourselves into :bigsmile:.

-----
[1] And whenever we really can do nothing about some particular fact, it seems wiser to cope with the idea than to ignore the whole affair. We do have limitations, but not looking at them, at least in my experience, only results in assuming limitations where there is nothing that can't be overcome.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Nov, 2008 10:06 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW wrote:
Yes, of course. In fact emotions seem to be there to induce us to act. It is the impulse to feel better that moves us to perform each action. If we couldn't compare between being sad or happy, same as between being hungry and satisfied, we would be far less efficient in keeping ourselves alive.


I think this may be why the general population does not like classical music. Much of it is created to illicit certain emotional responses and the common population does not take the time to learn or are never taught this aspect of listening to music, thus do not understand higher orders of music. This may also help explain why terrible pop music tends to be popular. It works on emotions that associate with primal hedonistic urges, which may go on to explain the short lived popularity of many pop songs.

Aristotle's ethics are about training the emotions so we respond to stimuli correctly so you are definitely right in those regards. People that respond wrongly to emotional stimuli spend more time working through the emotional responses and their lives end up more complicated. Anyway, this diversion on emotions would probably start a healthy discussion in the Ethics forum.
BeatsMeWhy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 01:30 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;33175 wrote:
I think this may be why the general population does not like classical music. Much of it is created to illicit certain emotional responses and the common population does not take the time to learn or are never taught this aspect of listening to music, thus do not understand higher orders of music. This may also help explain why terrible pop music tends to be popular. It works on emotions that associate with primal hedonistic urges, which may go on to explain the short lived popularity of many pop songs.

Aristotle's ethics are about training the emotions so we respond to stimuli correctly so you are definitely right in those regards. People that respond wrongly to emotional stimuli spend more time working through the emotional responses and their lives end up more complicated. Anyway, this diversion on emotions would probably start a healthy discussion in the Ethics forum.


Now I have some more free time, I'll take your advice and start a thread in the Ethics forum. Something might turn up...
0 Replies
 
khalid10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 02:24 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
Music makes people sort of intoxinated
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 02:12 pm
@khalid10,
Not just humans like music.
Music transcends race colour and breed.
0 Replies
 
Dr Seuss
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 09:40 am
@urangutan,
Music is similar to language. It communicates. Its the expression of feelings through sounds instead of words (although in the case of singing it does use words). In music we can experience the joy of pain. It communicates a desire.
0 Replies
 
Repfixers
 
  0  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 02:04 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
People like music for a lot of different reasons. Like other art forms, it makes people feel emotion, see things in a different way, or connect to something on a different level. No one really knows exactly why it can be so powerful.
0 Replies
 
cchindiastore
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 20 Jun, 2013 04:43 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
Come on! It's our trait! Nature!
0 Replies
 
yashi
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Jun, 2013 07:14 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
I like music because it is the best medicine to relax my mind. It removes my tiredness. It makes me forget all my troubles.
0 Replies
 
 

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