The power of music summary
The Power of Music by Elena MannesThe award-winning creator of the acclaimed documentary The Music Instinct: Science & Song, explores the power of music and its connection to the body, the brain, and the world of nature. Only recently has science sought in earnest to understand and explain this impact. One remarkable recent study, analyzing the cries of newborns, shows that infants cries contain common musical intervals, and children tease each other in specific, singsong ways no matter where in the world they live. Physics experiments show that sound waves can physically change the structure of a material; musician and world-famous conductor Daniel Barenboim believes musical sound vibrations physically penetrate our bodies, shifting molecules as they do. The Power of Music follows visionary researchers and accomplished musicians to the crossroads of science and culture, to discover: how much of our musicality is learned and how much is innate? Can examining the biological foundations of music help scientists unravel the intricate web of human cognition and brain function? Why is music virtually universal across cultures and time-does it provide some evolutionary advantage? Can music make people healthier? Might music contain organizing principles of harmonic vibration that underlie the cosmos itself?
Handel - Alexander's Feast (Power of Musick) Part I
The Power of Music
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It was written to celebrate Saint Cecilia's Day. Jeremiah Clarke set the original ode to music, however the score is now lost. The main body of the poem describes the feast given by Alexander the Great at the Persian capital Persepolis , after his defeat of Darius. Alexander's bard Timotheus sings praises of him. Alexander's emotions are manipulated by the singer's poetry and music. Timotheus glorifies him as a god, puffing up Alexander's pride.
Thank you! One possible answer is that singing helps attract a mate, but that implies that we must enjoy music on some basic level, which may be answered by the fact that listening to music releases hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. Mannes delivers the findings of scientists in an easy voice—this includes her forays into the thickets of music theory as well as brain structure and its response to music—and she is very clear when the material is conditional or the result of only one study. Many of the early findings are truly surprising: that we may be born with perfect pitch, but lose it if we do not cultivate it; that babies cry in musical intervals of 3rds, 4ths and 5ths; that someone took the time to fashion a flute out of a vulture bone 40, years ago; that Neanderthals, who had no spoken language, communicated by singing to one another. The author maintains reader interest by touching on plainly fascinating ideas, such as whether there are elements built into musical structure that elicit emotions and whether those emotions are instinctual or associative; the role of music in the healing arts; and the mystery of entrainment. Mannes also examines the idea of a music of the spheres.
The poem begins at the feast that Alexander the Great gives after he defeats the Persian army and captures Persepolis.
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