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#34230 - 01/19/10 05:02 PM Why do we like music and rhythm?
coelentrate Offline

Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Dundee, Scotland
What draws us to it? What is its purpose? Why did we evolve to be creators and users of it?
#34231 - 01/19/10 05:19 PM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: coelentrate]
Dan_Dread Offline

Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3810
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Another great question would be.."Why do people feel the need to hit 'submit' after writing a one line post, given all the many warning given in the past?" I'll leave you to answer that one.

In regards to the question asked, I speculate that is is yet another product of evolution. As I feel many social behaviors are ingrained at a 'nature' level, it seems to me this can be included in that list. Music has been with us for at least 50 thousand years (as bone 'flutes' have been found dating back that far), possibly much longer. As the religious need for 'wonder' has become part of the human condition over great spans of time, so too has the appreciation for musical sound and rhythm.
ideological vandal

#34246 - 01/19/10 11:42 PM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: coelentrate]
ta2zz Offline
veteran member

Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 1552
Loc: Connecticut

 Originally Posted By: coelentrate
What draws us to it? What is its purpose? Why did we evolve to be creators and users of it?

We humans are creatures born of rhythm into a world of sound. From our beginnings inside our mothers living with her heartbeat to the raindrops thrumming or tinkling depending on the amount of falling rain.

It really doesn't take a genius to figure out why we humans have and enjoy rhythm or that music started by us mimicking what we heard in nature.

Haven't we said this all before?

We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams. ~Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy

#34252 - 01/20/10 04:35 AM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: coelentrate]
Baron dHolbach Offline

Registered: 12/29/09
Posts: 162
 Originally Posted By: coelentrate
What draws us to it? What is its purpose? Why did we evolve to be creators and users of it?

Sounds like you'd be interested in this book if you can find it.

The Biological Foundations of Music:
The baboon is the soul of man.

#34365 - 01/22/10 12:15 AM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: Baron dHolbach]
paolo sette Offline

Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 263
Loc: IL, USA
This seemingly simple question spurred me to pause for some time, and think deeply. I listen to music on a daily basis as it assists with daily activities, and for the important times when a thoughtful decision is called for. It is a truism that is purely axiomatic in its origin. (It's the BOMB!) Right now I'm cycling tunes by the quintessential Police that we ALL are familar with. The Police and other renowned bands, past and present, have common threads amongst them. One is glaringly obvious, they ALL have an affinity for music. The underlying reasoning behind music and ALL of its glory is it has to do with an entirely personal experience. If you want to look at it as escapism or some other theory, go for it. It's completely up to you as to what, how, and why music came about in the first place; and, I am immensely confident that ALL the reasons you can cogitate about are definetely correct. Humans are not just merely autonomatons that produced lilting harmonious sounds 50 thousands years ago.

p.s.-Ever since you funneled the question as to where you can find goat meat in the food and drink section, I've been following you.
[nig]-ge-na-da a-ba in-da-di nam-ti i-u-tu

#34562 - 01/25/10 06:11 PM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: ta2zz]
coelentrate Offline

Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Dundee, Scotland
 Originally Posted By: ta2zz

Haven't we said this all before?

I see what you mean, there's a recent post about this, right? I don't normally read that persons posts. Anyway, it doesn't quite answer my question. What you're saying is true enough, but it doesn't address what I'm trying to get at here.

What I'm really looking for is some insight into why this happens:

To what extent could this be replicated or manipulated, and to what end? Could we get the musical brain wave readings if we clenched Dan Dreads head in a vice and shook the table? If I speak in the rhythm of a calm heartbeat will it make Dan as calm as a baby in his mothers womb? Probably not, but how close does it get?

What effects does it have on the listener, short term and long term? I'm approaching this by looking at why we evolved this physiological response.

I really don't notice the sound of rhythm in nature, much. I'll give you the mother's heartbeat, but rain's not rhythmic. What else is there? the beach? So why did we evolve a response to that? Was there something we needed to do for our survival when we heard the beach, or heard mother's heartbeat speed up?

#34569 - 01/25/10 09:18 PM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: coelentrate]
Jake999 Offline
senior member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
I don't know so much about rhythms in nature, but rhythms are something that all people seem keyed into in one way or another. There's a theory that different races are affected by different rhythms... blacks slower than whites was the one that was presented, as a possible reasoning for most blacks liking soul music, where whites seemed more keen on rock. I don't know where that leaves me... BIG MOTOWN fan, and rock as well.

But there's a thing called the "uhrsong." Seems like everyone has it, or is supposed to. It's that personal little beat that accompanies your personal soundtrack. Don't know how else to describe it. The music that plays in your head and you really relate to it. Mine's not so much a song, but a standard rock beat. If I lay in the dark and quiet for a few moments, I usually hear it in my head and end up tapping the beat on the mattress.
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.

#34570 - 01/25/10 09:19 PM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: coelentrate]
Michael A.Aquino Offline

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2517
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
From my 2000 paper on Project Star Gate:

 Originally Posted By: M.A.A.
... The electrical energy in your brain occurs in waves measured according to cycles per second (CPS). 1-3 CPS = delta waves, characteristic of deep sleep. 4-7 CPS = theta waves, characteristic of high emotion, violence, and frustration. 8-12 CPS = alpha waves, characteristic of meditation, relaxation, and “searching for patterns”. 13-22 CPS = beta waves, characteristic of frontal brain activity, deliberate effort, and logical thought.

We’ll come back to brain waves in a moment, but first a word about another principle: resonance. Resonance is a very interesting concept and deserves a precise definition:

(1) a vibration of large amplitude in a mechanical or electrical system caused by a relatively small periodic stimulus of the same or nearly the same period as the natural vibration period of the system.

(2) the intensification and enriching of a musical tone by supplementary vibration that is either sympathetically or mechanically induced.

In the course of my research I examined the work of Dr. Nikola Tesla, one of recent history’s more charming “mad scientists” who rattled the cage of “recognized” science with, among other things, experiments in resonance. Biographer Margaret Cheney relates in Tesla: Man Out of Time:

 Originally Posted By: TMOOT
He attached an oscillator no larger than an alarm clock to a steel link 2’ long and 2” thick. “For a long time nothing happened, but at last the great steel link began to tremble, increased its trembling until it dilated and contracted like a beating heart, and finally broke.” Sledgehammers could not have done it, he told a reporter, crowbars could not have done it, but a fusillade of taps, no one of which would have harmed a baby, did it.

Pleased with this beginning, he put the little oscillator in his coat pocket. Finding a half-built steel building in the Wall Street district, 10 stories high with nothing up but the steelwork, he clamped the oscillator to one of the beams. “In a few minutes I could feel the beam trembling. Gradually the trembling increased in intensity and extended throughout the whole great mass of steel. Finally the structure began to creak and weave, and the steelworkers came to the ground panic-stricken, believing that there had been an earthquake. Before anything serious happened, I took off the oscillator, put it in my pocket, and went away. But if I had kept on 10 minutes more, I could have laid that building flat in the street. And with the same oscillator I could drop Brooklyn Bridge in less than an hour.”

Now a little-known but interesting fact is that brain-waves are subject to the principle of resonance. Energy-waves reaching your brain through any medium - eyes, ears, or flesh - will tend to induce your brain-waves to cycle at the same wave-length. A common example of visual resonance is the seizures that some people experience when exposed to a light flickering at 10 CPS.

The audio spectrum - being the range of sound vibrations which human hearing can consciously detect - is from 15 CPS (bass) to 20,000 CPS (treble). The infrasonic range - 10-15 CPS - is too low to be consciously detected but is nonetheless capable of inducing resonance in the brain. Below infrasound [and sometimes encompassing it] are Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) waves, which are powerful and durable enough to travel through the Earth for communication with submerged submarines.

The relaxation which you paradoxically feel when listening to the deep, heavy throbbing of drums or bass guitars at rock concerts is the same as that felt by American Indians listening to the large dancing-drums accompanying their ceremonial campfires. Resonance is produced which inclines your brain-waves towards alpha, and if the rate of the beat seems particularly pleasing to you, I recommend that you take your pulse. My guess is that it will be close (somewhere around 70 CPM), which your system will find subconsciously soothing. [If you wish to calm a crying infant, rock its cradle at about that speed, or hold it to your breast so that it can hear the beating of your heart. Try it!] ...

Back in the 70s-80s I used to go on about this with Paul Kantner, and if you want to have some fun sometime, time the CPM of some of his compositions ... I won't say which ones. Then enjoy watching yourself get dialed up and down ...

 Originally Posted By: Paul Kantner
When it works best, we become a great churning air machine, capable of moving people to the unknown, of making you cry, laugh, march in silly parades.

This is all the more amusing because back during the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s, the Jefferson Starship was one of the groups attacked for "back masking of Satanic messages" in their songs (of which they did nothing of the kind). I participated in one radio interview with Paul in which some Christian nut group was howling that the cover of Spitfire showed the Whore of Babylon astride the Beast of Revelation. Kantner, who's a China devotee, rolled his eyes and said, "Grace & my daughter's name is 'China', so it's a Chinese dragon together with a Chinese girl!"

So here were all the Christian bozos in the 1980s playing tapes and records backwards in church basements and going crazy if they thought they found "my sweet Satan" in "Stairway to Heaven", and all of it was BS and wouldn't have affected anyone's mind if they did hear it.

But no one ever twigged to brainwave resonance, and I sure as hell wasn't going to blow it.

Michael A. Aquino

#34583 - 01/26/10 01:06 AM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Apion Offline

Registered: 10/06/09
Posts: 18
Speaking of brainwaves and ESP:

But I'm spinning off topic.

#34602 - 01/26/10 09:24 AM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: Apion]
111Cal Offline

Registered: 12/22/09
Posts: 143
I would argue that with todays music... "top 40 music" its not a question of whether we actually like it or not... its simple repetition that forces us to like it. The average person (sheep) hears the same song 25X in a day and eventual (whether they like it or not) they begin humming along.

At work, we alternate between muzak and adult contemporary and top 40 music... and I kid you not, and am not exaggerating one bit--- they played the godawful Miley Cyrus song "Party in the USA" at least 2 times Every hour for the 8 hour work day. It was faint and not loud at all, but I am pretty sure I know about 90% of the lyrics now!

#34735 - 01/28/10 12:46 PM Re: Why do we like music and rhythm? [Re: coelentrate]
Zorg Offline

Registered: 08/30/09
Posts: 44
Loc: A Galaxy Far, Far Away
My initial reaction to this query was rather facetious...from the noise I often hear coming from cars and certain bedrooms, it appears that many no longer enjoy MUSIC...but have settled for noise. But, I'll keep my Sinatra to myself.

Music stimulates the brain, much the way exercise stimulates the muscles, and induces the secretion of hormones, such as endorphins. In fact, being a strict monistic materialist, this makes perfect sense. Music exercises the brain. Exercise feels good; thus, we do it...a lot.
"The average person thinks he isn’t" Father Lorenzoni

"Plato was a bore."
Friedrich Nietzsche

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