Music and the Human Mind

Some years ago, I remember the Highland Festival in Alma, Michigan. The football field was full of bagpipers and the marching band. The lone piper began "Amazing Grace," and then all those other players joined in. The sound went through me and I was moved to tears.

Festivals like this are gatherings for competitions in Highland games, dancing, and the pipes. Later, I saw folks at their trailers playing impromptu songs with folk instruments and having a great time. To me, that is the spirit of  music.

Only humans can compose and respond to music in any meaningful way. There is even a mathematical component to it. Music is a gift of our Creator.
Celtic music in the pub (modified), Flickr / James Lloyd (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The word music can mean different things to different people, such as snobs who seem to think the only real music is classical, country, or whatever their preferences. Music needs some basic elements, else it is rhythmic chanting (such as rap). Whether we realize it or not, music involves mathematics — especially the intricacies of classical.

There are vibrations throughout the universe, something Eastern religions have emphasized. There is "music" from the cosmos, vibrations of the sun and planets that can be manipulated into wavelengths that we can hear. Although they don't fit standard definitions of music, whales have vocalizations that have been called songs.

Humans are the only life forms that can compose and perform music, and can respond to it in a meaningful way. Certain patterns, regardless of lyrics, can bring us to joy or melancholy. After a hard day's work, people would go to the pub, have a few draughts, and sing with the piano player. Music is a way of communication and often used to spread messages. I often listen to music for studying while writing posts and articles.

Critters don't have a relationship with music. Chimpanzees cannot compose a tune that makes their whoop get up and dance or weep with joy, for example. Elephants don't have a song to sing while working. Only us. Music is a gift of God to us, and we use it in many ways, including praise.

The appreciation of the human mind for music knows no limits. A quick look at a list of the most watched YouTube videos shows that 90 percent of the top thirty are songs, with total views for each ranging from 3 billion to 13 billion. Most of us can correctly remember melodies and lyrics learned in childhood, even years after last having heard them. While speaking words effectively communicates information, we seldom remember even a short speech verbatim. It seems that the human mind is wired for music.

To read the rest of this interesting article, visit "The Human Mind Is Wired for Music: How Did That Come About?"