November 14, 2012

Musical Influence


photo credit: yaymicro.com

The study of how music affects the mind has been a subject of interest for many.
Do you remember that funny song from summer camp? The songs that were popular in Jr.  High or High School? Your first dance song at your wedding or the hymn at a loved one’s funeral? Life without music would be pretty dull, and sometimes we lose sight of how powerful melody and rhythm can be in the realm of medicine. The interconnection between music and the physical and mental health of human beings has been researched on since long. Research has concluded that music does have positive effects on our mind.
 It is used in the medical field as a source of research and as a sort of therapy as well. Music has been used as therapy for seizures, to lower blood pressure, treat ADD children, treat mental illness, treat depression, aid in healing, treat stress and insomnia, and treat premature infants.
Conversely music has also been documented to cause sickness. The right, or wrong music, rather, can be like a poison to the body. Studies have been done on plants where loud hard rock music, for instance, killed plants and soft classical music, make the plants grow faster. Very loud music can disturb the symmetry between the right and left halves of the brain. Loud music results in a disturbed state of mind. Exposure to harsh or disruptive music at an early age can lead to learning disabilities and behavior problems in children.  According to a study by Dr. John Diamond, an Australian physician and psychiatrist, body muscles go weak when subjected to the stopped anapestic beat in hard rock music. He also says that shrill frequencies and irregular beats are harmful to the mind and body. Disharmony in music has been shown to reduce retention levels of the brain and lead to aggression and hyperactivity. Heavily repeating musical patterns can lead to feelings of anger and boredom.
Music is very powerful, like a drug and can even be an addiction.  In the case of Patty Hearst, it was documented that music was used in the aid of brainwashing her.  In the book, Elevator Music, by Joseph Lanza, it states that certain types of music over prolonged periods in certain conditions were shown to cause seizures.
It can be said that music is a very powerful and awesome tool that can have positive effects, virtually life saving mentally and physically when used in the right context, but has equally destructive and detrimental potential if negatively used.
Sources:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=music-and-the-brain
http://www.ehow.com/list_7602123_scientific-research-effects-music-plants.html

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