8

votes

is music magic?

Answered on November 05, 2014
Created April 23, 2011 at 5:37 AM

sometimes when i listen to certain music, it can give me a bigger energy boost than a food meal, and a lasting multiple hour one at that. When I am down or bored I invariably reach for my walkman (no wait, its an ipod) and take a walk. It sends me off to my imagination and i feel rejuvenated. what gives? a lot of us endorse fat or protein or whatnot for energy, but really, what gives with music?

as a subnote to my question, many eastern techniques relying on "mantra' employ vibration and sound to create an effect upon the physical body. While I'm not sure the Buddha was listening to Ministry and Dubstep Radio on Pandora, I do feel there is a connection. What is happening in our biology listening to music?

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on May 15, 2013
at 10:07 PM

Buddha? He was listening to Death Metal, of course, how else could he have come up with such a beautiful theory that life is suffering? ;) Slaaayer!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 22, 2011
at 05:34 PM

Damn! wanted to ask this too. I stopped listening to music a looong time ago and when my brother had music on today I just felt sooo good.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 17, 2011
at 03:15 AM

upvoted because I love electronic music but somehow had never come across BT... what the hell! Thanks so much for the recommendation. What a kickass musician.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 26, 2011
at 08:12 AM

I fell for that one then - well done Thomas (I have given him an upvote for screaming)

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 26, 2011
at 05:32 AM

he just begged you not to say that.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on April 26, 2011
at 01:32 AM

emoto's work = beautiful and compelling pseudoscience.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 24, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Thanks for the admonition, which is misconceived. Baroque, and other types of music have a pulse of about 60 beats per minute, similar to the human pulse. It does not 'cause' the pulse to beat at that rate, there is just a relation between the 2, ergo 'correlation'.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:53 AM

Although come to think of it, the penatatonic scale could be cultural. Anyone who has heard rock, soul, blues or anything like that could follow it. But that we should all agree on dissonance? Genetic.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:47 AM

Neat stuff. I have no doubt that tonality is genetic. It is arbitrary that any consecutive series of tones should produce a reaction in a person, and yet we can all agree on the major scale and everything that follows from it.

A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

(1614)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:42 AM

Bobby McFerrin demonstrates how something like the pentatonic scale might be more than convention of a certain population or particular tradition, but maybe even ingrained somewhere in the human DNA. Imagine that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne6tB2KiZuk

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:38 AM

i giggled about that. I'm pretty liable to do the exact same thing.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:34 AM

Ah yeah I sometimes just go off on whichever philosophical tangent that I want to if given a reasonably close spring-board, heh.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:03 AM

context, though perhaps part of its power is connecting us to a collective even when we are alone.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:02 AM

hehe. i just thought it was a catchy title for my question, which was really more about what the biological processes are behind the powerful effects of music. That said, I have witnessed some pretty weird things that standard science would have a hard time explaining. I'm not saying there *isn't* an explanation, I'm just saying Einstein and Hawking and the Dalai Lama might have to sit down together to discuss the matter. But, back to music, I'm not fully convinced it's not particularly useful in itself. I'm also pretty interested in the individual's experience of music outside of a tribal

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:40 PM

interestingly the older I get the more I like relaxing music.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:31 PM

heck yea, I've read tons of his writing and listen to many speaks.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:04 PM

PLEASE PLEASE....nobody say, "Correlation is not causation." If I hear that one more time this week, I am going to flippin SCREAM!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:02 PM

Looks like I just found another Terence McKenna fan here on Paleo Hacks!

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 23, 2011
at 03:40 PM

huh. this would have never occurred to me. Interesting!

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 23, 2011
at 03:38 PM

Thanks for these answers! Pretty interesting stuff.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 23, 2011
at 03:35 PM

it's true, there are so many kinds of music, with lots of different effects, take lullabies for example. I, too, like a wide variety of music.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 23, 2011
at 12:40 PM

Music is definitely magic. That's another way of me saying that I have no idea what happens biologically when we listen to music, but I completely understand how you're feeling. I wonder what playing music does to body chemistry? Sitting down and improv'ing on keyboard or guitar just rips me away from reality. Suddenly, 30 minutes have passed, and I've forgotten why I was stressed out at all. That's magical.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 23, 2011
at 08:30 AM

respiration also

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:52 AM

The 90's were amazing times for electronic music. So many good artists and styles.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:49 AM

Interesting that you mention "mantra" also. That's exactly that goa trance does, if you listen to it carefully you'll see it's like the music is changing as it repeats. There's a mantra that repeats through the song. Good stuff

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:47 AM

Funny you mention "mantra" also. That's exactly that goa trance does, if you listen to it carefully you'll see it's like the music is changing as it repeats. There's a mantra that repeats through the song but it's like a journey, dancing to this stuff with 100's of people is where it's at cause the vibrations are so good everyone is getting along and not worrying about social status or other nonsense.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:08 AM

alpha and theta waves are responsible for the mental effects of listening to this type of music. As is with any ancient tribal type of music. It's a way to induce altered states without drugs.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:00 AM

i agree, and I guess I'm just curious as to what is happening chemically and biologically

  • Size75 avatar

    asked by

    (5136)
  • Views
    1.6K
  • Last Activity
    1205D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

9 Answers

3
2193cb1eca1a0eda4b2cad910074634e

on April 23, 2011
at 10:54 AM

The human body is about 70% water in adults. Dr. Masaro Emoto researched the changes to water when exposed to varied genres of music, and words. His theory was if water crystals changed in response to this exposure then they would change in humans. Check out Messages from Water and Hidden Messages from Water by Dr. Masaro Emoto.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 23, 2011
at 03:40 PM

huh. this would have never occurred to me. Interesting!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on April 26, 2011
at 01:32 AM

emoto's work = beautiful and compelling pseudoscience.

3
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:50 AM

Music is such a wide term - Chopin does it for me, Mozart, Puccini, Vaughan Williams, ELgar, Scarlatti - loads of different things, for different times. And sometimes - silence can be more effective than anything (silence except for the sounds of nature - birdsong, wind inn the trees, water running etc)

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:40 PM

interestingly the older I get the more I like relaxing music.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 23, 2011
at 03:35 PM

it's true, there are so many kinds of music, with lots of different effects, take lullabies for example. I, too, like a wide variety of music.

2
Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 23, 2011
at 03:58 PM

I notice an almost instant clam in my toddler as soon as I play some classical music - and the exact opposite if we play some rock and roll or dance music. It's neat watching him- I really think that he has a real 'primal' response to so many things!

2
A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

on April 23, 2011
at 06:39 AM

In the mid 90's my music tastes took a left turn when I discovered this "electronic" artist named BT. I traditionally avoided the whole techno thing, but something about his music invigorated me like I've never experienced. He seemed to understand the subtleties of bringing the listener through emotional peaks and valleys, working on levels I couldn't quite grasp sometimes.

Some time later I found out not only was he classically trained but that he would geek out on things like using an electroencephalograph to get an idea of brain states in relation to frequencies and certain sound designs. He explains a little in this clip from a doc on electronica (briefly connecting it to phenomena common among indigenous music):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc9xOvk0AIw

Here's an example of his approach... hypnotic, unique energy, builds and releases

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve8WaGmyhfI

something that apparently took 6 months to write in code (CSound), basically like building a sandcastle one grain at a time, but it came out like a lullaby. The underlying layers of glitch and noise seem psychologically inviting rather than irritating. Completely written and executed via binary operations, yet it can near bring me to tears. Definitely from someone who recognizes the psycho-neuro-emotional responses to sound and noise.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:52 AM

The 90's were amazing times for electronic music. So many good artists and styles.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on May 17, 2011
at 03:15 AM

upvoted because I love electronic music but somehow had never come across BT... what the hell! Thanks so much for the recommendation. What a kickass musician.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 05:58 AM

Absolutely, certain types of music especially "goa trance"(a repetative electronic trance-inducing dance music) gives me energy personally.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dowPEoZdwbk - Pure energy!

The video isn't that great, just concentrate on the music that's where the magic is and be sure to listen to the 720 HD.

This music stimulates theta and alpha waves in the brain. Along with syncopated beats, appegios, ancient rythms this puts the listener/dancer into a state of trance, altered conciousness, stimulates the brain and produces energy. It can also enhance creativity.

Regarding the "archaic revival" form the book "Turn on, Tune in, and Trance out The Exploration of Entheogens and the Emergence of a Global Techno-shamanic Ritual"

It also is argued that this Goa Trance Ritual is a modern version of ancient ritual practice that is rooted in paleolithic shamanism.

We're bringing the "archaic/primal into the modern world, I bet many of us are waking up to this. Perhaps going paleo diet is just one of the many things that is about to change our lives.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:00 AM

i agree, and I guess I'm just curious as to what is happening chemically and biologically

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:49 AM

Interesting that you mention "mantra" also. That's exactly that goa trance does, if you listen to it carefully you'll see it's like the music is changing as it repeats. There's a mantra that repeats through the song. Good stuff

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:02 PM

Looks like I just found another Terence McKenna fan here on Paleo Hacks!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:47 AM

Funny you mention "mantra" also. That's exactly that goa trance does, if you listen to it carefully you'll see it's like the music is changing as it repeats. There's a mantra that repeats through the song but it's like a journey, dancing to this stuff with 100's of people is where it's at cause the vibrations are so good everyone is getting along and not worrying about social status or other nonsense.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:31 PM

heck yea, I've read tons of his writing and listen to many speaks.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 06:08 AM

alpha and theta waves are responsible for the mental effects of listening to this type of music. As is with any ancient tribal type of music. It's a way to induce altered states without drugs.

1
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 24, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Of course as a skeptic I don't believe in "magic", we can probably come up with a good rationale as to why music does what it does, although we may call it "magic" insofar as it has a powerful effect that is observable but has a mysterious cause - that's what magic is and to any phenomenon you can possibly imagine it is far more likely that you simply don't know what is going on than it is an exception in physics...always remember that.

The tribal chant thins fits. Music undeniably creates a sort of unity and bonding but we must ask ourselves if such a warrior bond would necessarily be stronger in the case of a musical ritual in a world of music than it would normally be in a world without appreciation of music. Perhaps music just creates a higher standard that isn't so meaningful if the standard that is required for the standard is taken away. There is good evidence for an entirely conscience-based and empathetic tribal and warrior unity that doesn't need music.

Still, something so apparently insignificant to evolution, yet that still produces such an effect could be described as "miraculous" in the loose sense of the word. I tend to subscribe to Steven Pinker's account of music as simply "auditory cheesecake" in the sense that the love of fat and sugar are adaptive, but cheesecake is not really and not particularly useful in itself, just as the modern manifestation of music isn't any more adaptive than any other talent that impresses people, except it combines impressiveness with ascetics. Nothing says that music is adaptive, but it is powerful, just like cheesecake.

But I'm inclined to call it "miraculous" in a loose sense of the word. if a true accident can produce this kind of unity and purpose http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zklqr1xj32Q then that is worthy of "magic" in as mystical a sense as I am willing to use the word.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:03 AM

context, though perhaps part of its power is connecting us to a collective even when we are alone.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:34 AM

Ah yeah I sometimes just go off on whichever philosophical tangent that I want to if given a reasonably close spring-board, heh.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:53 AM

Although come to think of it, the penatatonic scale could be cultural. Anyone who has heard rock, soul, blues or anything like that could follow it. But that we should all agree on dissonance? Genetic.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:38 AM

i giggled about that. I'm pretty liable to do the exact same thing.

A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

(1614)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:42 AM

Bobby McFerrin demonstrates how something like the pentatonic scale might be more than convention of a certain population or particular tradition, but maybe even ingrained somewhere in the human DNA. Imagine that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne6tB2KiZuk

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on April 24, 2011
at 06:47 AM

Neat stuff. I have no doubt that tonality is genetic. It is arbitrary that any consecutive series of tones should produce a reaction in a person, and yet we can all agree on the major scale and everything that follows from it.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 24, 2011
at 05:02 AM

hehe. i just thought it was a catchy title for my question, which was really more about what the biological processes are behind the powerful effects of music. That said, I have witnessed some pretty weird things that standard science would have a hard time explaining. I'm not saying there *isn't* an explanation, I'm just saying Einstein and Hawking and the Dalai Lama might have to sit down together to discuss the matter. But, back to music, I'm not fully convinced it's not particularly useful in itself. I'm also pretty interested in the individual's experience of music outside of a tribal

1
2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 23, 2011
at 08:28 AM

There is an interesting correlation between the beat of music and one's pulse rate

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 23, 2011
at 08:30 AM

respiration also

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 23, 2011
at 04:04 PM

PLEASE PLEASE....nobody say, "Correlation is not causation." If I hear that one more time this week, I am going to flippin SCREAM!

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 24, 2011
at 08:48 PM

Thanks for the admonition, which is misconceived. Baroque, and other types of music have a pulse of about 60 beats per minute, similar to the human pulse. It does not 'cause' the pulse to beat at that rate, there is just a relation between the 2, ergo 'correlation'.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 26, 2011
at 05:32 AM

he just begged you not to say that.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on April 26, 2011
at 08:12 AM

I fell for that one then - well done Thomas (I have given him an upvote for screaming)

0
A7c1857ce53fb11a9351d05718c7070d

(283)

on November 05, 2014
at 01:09 AM

Music is pretty cool and can have a large effect on our mood, for good or for bad.  Interestingly, music can actually alter the state of our cells themselves, actually changing the rate of DNA replication and also cell decay.  I talk about this a bit in the below post and provide scientific references.

http://www.thebarefootgolfer.com/2014/09/11/music-health/

0
8a16b739657428bb4f78d910638cbc4f

on May 15, 2013
at 09:20 AM

Hi Tartare,

Definitely music is magic; it is the key to the heart, body, mind and soul. It can transform the mind from darkness and sorrow into joy, love warmth and passion. The simple joy of watching the sunset or the love from a relationship or even the warmth from a deep friendship can all be aroused by the sounds of music. It comes in so many forms such as jazz, rock, tap or classical, contemporary and many more as well. It can rock the mind, dance the soul, jazz the emotions and free the heart.

No matter what your favorite music is you can create it all by taking help of some good music store like Music Forte. It has been easier, more affordable, more practical, more user-friendly or achievable for anyone than ever before.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!