Music has been one of the peachiest creations of humanity throughout history. It is in its purest forms of artistic creation. Music is indeed an essential component in our lives that serves as a way of pressing out our emotions and feelings. Some regard music as a mode of getting away from the ails of life while others for entertainment purposes. It gives one relief hence granting a way of reducing stress. In other words, music is a mighty therapy that calms down, entangled in a joyous moment, making him or her cheerful. Music plays a much more vital role in our lives than merely serving the purposes of entertainment.
Hargreaves and North sums up music into three broad functions; cognitive, social, and emotional, as far as Merriam’s proposal is concerned. Furthermore, social musical features or preferably domains split into interpersonal relationships, self-identity, and mood within the context (Hargreaves, 1997). According to the article compiled by Hargreaves and North, there subsist vital psychological functions of music, emotional expression and physical responses, Aesthetic enjoyment and entertainment, communication, and symbolic representation. The context of this paper strives at discussing how the functions of music form Hargreaves and North ware connected to the particular brain functions explicated by Goldstein in his article, “Four Ways That Music Affects the Brain.” The account on how these psychological functions of music are connected it is herein elaborated respectively.
Emotional Expression and Physical Responses
According to Merriam, “the power of music acts as a vehicle for feelings.” Some exceptions that are relative to music in the best case can produce “physical reactions,” such as sexual arousal, sweating, shivers, or thrills. Consequently, emotional expression equates to how music affects our brains. We tend to express our emotions through music in significant ways than what we perceive. In Goldstein’s article, music stimulates our emotions through particular brain circuits. These circuits tend to illuminate our brain functions. Music engages mood and emotion through rhythm hence having a feeling of emotional uplifting. In essence, music creates peak emotions, channeling through memory. These emotions, in turn, increase dopamine amounts; a monoamine neurotransmitter found in the brain and essential for the normal functioning of the central nervous system, controlling the pleasure centers and rewards of the brain, according to Goldstein. His notions, in this case, equates to learning and neuroplasticity. We feel these emotions and are felt from our hearts, having emotional stimuli that are communicated via the brain, thereby giving us the faculty or power of mental concentration that makes us gain attention.
Aesthetic Enjoyment and Entertainment
Music aesthetics or rather aesthetic pleasure conforms to a doctrine that considers the type, source, intention, development, perception, significance, and performance of a musical piece. It relates to the beauty and taste of an individual’s musical preference. From a philosophical point of view, knowledge, existence, artistic ethics, sociology, and relationships are all features of music aesthetics (Hargreaves, 1997). . Based on emotions, aesthetics adapt to our strong musical feelings attached to our tastes and preferences in terms of the type of music we tend to devour. Consequently, music that we are familiar with can reconnect us with meaningful and deep memories from our past, which in turn conforms to how the music affects our brain. In this case, our aesthetics and retention (memory) are complected. Music largely outlays amusement or entertainment in general. In these attempts, the brain ideally adjusts to various activities as proposed to environmental change, or when exposed to new changes, hence conforming to learning and neuroplasticity. Aesthetics also looks at attention. We tend to divert our attention to the most preferred choice of music and without a doubt
According to Hargreaves and North, individuals from different ethnical backgrounds, who speak differently, can readily communicate with one another through music. Music is authentic, a universal language. As ascertained earlier, music stimulates our emotions through particular brain circuits. These brain circuits play a vital role in terms of conveying information to the brain and vice versa. In terms of memory, how we experience “emotionally salient episodic” memories corresponds to how we interact with various songs. This interconnection dictates how we transmit thoughts and feelings. Through music, the brain adjusts to the kind of music it receives gradually, ingesting profound content or message intended. This annotation can mostly be affected by social functions hence outlaying learning and neuroplasticity. Furthermore, through engaging our attention and our brain in the proper ways, music is capable of activating, improving, and sustaining our attention.
Symbolic representation relates to “how individuals internally represent the basic parameters of music itself, such as pitch, timbre and harmony” (Hargreaves, 1997). For music to express proper emotion, an eloquent symbolic representation has to be prevalent. These two facets go hand in hand in ensuring music expresses our mood. Over the years, many annotations are formulated to visually represent or rather the information needed to play a musical piece by a performer and ideally produce music as imagined and composed by the respective author. Consequently, to reconnect deeply with significant memory from the past, effective use of symbolic representation has to play a role. For instance, the tone of the musical description must be presented right, not to mention other observations. Through the text amassed by Goldstein, Neuroplasticity defined as “the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life, and can be greatly affected by the harmony of music and the brain.” The harmony of music, which is the sound property of music, is well captured through soundly symbolic representation. The facets of learning are captured in this illustration. According to Goldstein’s article, silences sums up as part of each intention by the composers or authors to guide the respective listener in integrating and interpreting the music in the brain. In other words, it is the void between the notes in a musical representation that captures our full attention as well as allowing the mind to successfully communicate and incorporate with the heart, thereby attracting attention.
Hargreaves, D. J. (1997). The social psychology of music. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
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