Music is an art, entertainment, or other human activity which involves structured and audible sound, though definitions vary. Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from the Greek "Art of the Muses".

The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions (and their recreation in performance), through improvisational music to aleatoric forms. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within the arts, music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art, and auditory art. It may also be divided among art music and folk music. There is also a strong connection between music and mathematics. Music may be played and heard live, may be part of a dramatic work or film, or may be recorded.

Harmony (Music) of the Spheres

To many people in many cultures, music is an important part of their way of life. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as the harmony of the spheres and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise, only sound." Musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez summarizes the relativist, post-modern viewpoint: "The border between music and noise is always culturally defined - which implies that, even within a single society, this border does not always pass through the same place; in short, there is rarely a consensus ... By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept defining what music might be."

Drumming - Drumming Circles

The vibrations of drums are very powerful, and used for healing, spiritual, and other ceremonial rituals.

Ceremonial drums are used in a ritual context by indigenous peoples around the world, often accompanied by singing or chanting. In the circumpolar regions the drums have been classified by traits such as the knob, frame design, size, membrane motifs, ornaments, etc. There are therefore two main groups of drums: those with internal and those with external knobs. Drums with internal knobs are found amongst the Tjuktjer in Asia and among North American Inuit. Drums with external knobs are more widespread and are divided into four types:

The historical Saami drum, sometimes termed rune drum, belonged to the South Siberian kind, Sajano-Yeniseic subtype. (Those are, however, very similar to the Sjoric subtypes.) The Sami word for drum is 'kannus', 'kobdas' and the Altaic term is 'komus'. The Sami drum-stick term is 'arpa'; the Altaic term is 'orba'.

A drum circle is any group of people playing (usually) hand-drums and percussion in a circle. They are distinct from a drumming group or troupe in that the drum circle is an end in itself rather than preparation for a performance. They can range in size from a handful of players to circles with thousands of participants. Typically, people gather to drum in drum "circles" with others from the surrounding community. The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. It includes people of all ages. The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate. By entrainment, I mean that a new voice, a collective voice, emerges from the group as they drum together. Drummers create a circle and begin to play eventually creating a group consciousness for healing and higher awareness. Their resonates can be primal, very powerful, and felt on the physical, emotional and spiritual level.

6 Ways Drumming Heals Body, Mind and Soul   Epoch Times - March 23, 2015

Drumming is as fundamental a form of human expression as speaking, and likely emerged long before humans even developed the capability of using the lips, tongue and vocal organs as instruments of communication. To understand the transformative power of drumming you really must experience it. Anyone who has participated in a drum circle, or who has borne witness to one with an open and curious mind, knows that the rhythmic entrainment of the senses and the anonymous though highly intimate sense of community generated that follows immersion in one, harkens back to a time long gone, where tribal consciousness preempted that of self-contained, ego-centric individuals, and where a direct and simultaneous experience of deep transcendence and immanence was not an extraordinarily rare occurrence as it is today.

Music Therapy

Music can set the "tone" for human and animal behavior. From physical sounds to subliminal tones, music has always been part of the equation. Both adults and children listen to music as a form of relaxation, meditation, healing, or part of something that clams the mind allowing them to create balance. You find the frequency of the music you like and go from there.

In a world of healing, among a host of alternative therapies for treating emotional and physical problems, music has proven a vital part of the therapeutic process. Hospitals and nursing homes across the country are adding music to their therapeutics as a way to reduce fear and stress.

Music therapy is the use of interventions to accomplish individual goals within a therapeutic relationship by a professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive therapies, consisting of a process in which a music therapist uses music and all of its facets - physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual - to help clients improve their physical and mental health. Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health in several domains, such as cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional development, social skills, and quality of life, by using music experiences such as free improvisation, singing, and listening to, discussing, and moving to music to achieve treatment goals. It has a wide qualitative and quantitative research literature base and incorporates clinical therapy, psychotherapy, biomusicology, musical acoustics, music theory, psychoacoustics, embodied music cognition, aesthetics of music, sensory integration, and comparative musicology. Referrals to music therapy services may be made by other health care professionals such as physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Clients can also choose to pursue music therapy services without a referral (i.e., self-referral).

Music therapists are found in nearly every area of the helping professions. Some commonly found practices include developmental work (communication, motor skills, etc.) with individuals with special needs, songwriting and listening in reminiscence/orientation work with the elderly, processing and relaxation work, and rhythmic entrainment for physical rehabilitation in stroke victims. Music therapy is also used in some medical hospitals, cancer centers, schools, alcohol and drug recovery programs, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional facilities.

Certain music can also help with learning difficult skills. Some students can study with music while others find it a distraction. You just have to know how you are programmed. Music therapy itself is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy is an allied health profession and one of the expressive therapies, consisting of an interpersonal process in which a certified music therapist uses music and all of its facets - physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual - to help clients to improve or maintain their health.

Music therapists primarily help clients improve their health across various domains (e.g., cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective development, behavior and social skills, and quality of life) by using music experiences (e.g., free improvisation, singing, songwriting, listening to and discussing music, moving to music) to achieve treatment goals and objectives. It is considered both an art and a science, with a wide qualitative and quantitative research literature base incorporating areas such as clinical therapy, biomusicology, musical acoustics, music theory, psychoacoustics, embodied music cognition, aesthetics of music, and comparative musicology. Referrals to music therapy services may be made by other health care professionals such as physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Clients can also choose to pursue music therapy services without a referral (i.e., self-referral).

Music therapists are found in nearly every area of the helping professions. Some commonly found practices include developmental work (communication, motor skills, etc.) with individuals with special needs, songwriting and listening in reminiscence/orientation work with the elderly, processing and relaxation work, and rhythmic entrainment for physical rehabilitation in stroke victims. Music therapy is also used in some medical hospitals, cancer centers, schools, alcohol and drug recovery programs, psychiatric hospitals, and correctional facilities. Read more

Healthy Songs: The Amazing Power of Music Therapy   Epoch Times - March 17, 2015

Music therapy has grown from relative obscurity to a practice that is becoming fairly mainstream, largely due to the advocacy of colleagues in the field, along with media coverage of the burgeoning profession. Doctor-writer Oliver Sacks' essay collections, like Musicophilia, introduced stories to the public that explained the ability of music to promote skill learning and/or recovery in the face of severe disability and trauma. Research in neuroscience has backed up many of Sacks' observations. For example, people who have suffered strokes or have been diagnosed Parkinson's disease are better able to walk while listening to rhythmic music. In the case of strokes, people who can't talk can often sing. Singing is then used to facilitate recovery of speech.

Music aids the healing process BCC - July 21, 2006
Listening to music makes us feel better - but many doctors are now beginning to believe that it does much more. There is emerging evidence that it can bring about physical changes to the body that can improve our health.

Music and Creation

Creation began with a tone - a "soul note" -> all emerged from a source of consciousness creating multidimensional grid matrix, or realities, of experience.

'Birth cry' of the cosmos heard   BBC - June 23, 2004
Over the first million years the music of the cosmos changed from a bright major chord to a somber minor one. Astronomers have recaptured the sounds of the early Universe showing it was born not with a bang but a quiet whisper that became a dull roar.


The didgeridoo (also known as a didjeridu or didge) is a wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia around 1,500 years ago and still in widespread usage today both in Australia and around the world. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or "drone pipe". Musicologists classify it as a brass aerophone.

There are no reliable sources stating the didgeridoo's exact age. Archaeological studies of rock art in Northern Australia suggest that the people of the Kakadu region of the Northern Territory have been using the didgeridoo for less than 1,000 years, based on the dating of paintings on cave walls and shelters from this period. A clear rock painting in Ginga Wardelirrhmeng, on the northern edge of the Arnhem Land plateau, from the freshwater period shows a didgeridoo player and two songmen participating in an Ubarr Ceremony.

Using the Didgeridoo for healing - An interesting orb showed up in this photo taken in my home

A modern didgeridoo is usually cylindrical or conical, and can measure anywhere from 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) long. Most are around 1.2 m (4 ft) long. The length is directly related to the 1/2 sound wavelength of the keynote. Generally, the longer the instrument, the lower the pitch or key of the instrument.

Crystal Singing - Tibetan Music Bowls

Channeling Music

- Music is suddenly physical heard and attributed to a deceased spirit bring a message to someone in this part of the consciousness grid.

- Musicians often claim to channel the music of someone who is deceased. This is similar to automatic writing, channeled art, or any other art form. We do it all the time. The channeler allegedly relaxes, disconnects from their consciousness grid at this level of awareness, then taps into another part of the grid matrix to create music.

Music and Subtle Bodies

Music and balancing Chakras

History of Music

Music in Ancient China

Music in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians credited one of their gods, Thoth, with the invention of music, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilize the world. The earliest material and representational evidence of Egyptian musical instruments dates to the Predynastic period, but the evidence is more securely attested in the Old Kingdom when harps, flutes and double clarinets were played. Percussion instruments, lyres and lutes were added to orchestras by the Middle Kingdom. Cymbals frequently accompanied music and dance, much as they still do in Egypt today. Egyptian folk music, including the traditional Sufi dhikr rituals, are the closest contemporary music genre to ancient Egyptian music, having preserved many of its features, rhythms and instruments.

Music in Ancient Rome

The history of music in relation to human beings predates the written word and is tied to the development and unique expression of various human cultures. Music has influenced man, and vice versa, since the dawn of civilization. Popular styles of music varied widely from culture to culture, and from period to period. Different cultures emphasized different instruments, or techniques. Music history itself is the (distinct) subfield of musicology and history, which studies the history of music theory.

Prehistoric music can only be theorized based on findings from paleolithic archaeology sites. Flutes are often discovered, carved from bones in which lateral holes have been pierced; these are thought to have been blown at one end like the Japanese shakuhachi. The Divje Babe flute, carved from a cave bear femur, is thought to be at least 40,000 years old. Instruments such as the seven-holed flute and various types of stringed instruments, such as the Ravanahatha, have been recovered from the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites.

Ancient India

India has one of the oldest musical traditions in the world - references to Indian classical music (marga) are found in the Vedas, ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition. The earliest and largest collection of prehistoric musical instruments was found in China and dates back to between 7000 and 6600 BC.

The Hurrian songs, found on clay tablets that date back to approximately 1400 BC, is the oldest surviving notated work of music. They are a collection of music inscribed in cuneiform on clay tablets excavated from the Hurrian city of Ugarit which date to approximately 1400 BC. One of these tablets, which is nearly complete, contains the Hurrian hymn to Nikkal (also known as the Hurrian cult hymn or A Zaluzi to the Gods, or simply h.6), making it the oldest surviving substantially complete work of notated music in the world. While the composers' names of some of the fragmentary pieces are known, h.6 is an anonymous work.

Indian classical music is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world. The Indus Valley civilization has sculptures that show dance and old musical instruments, like the seven holed flute. Various types of stringed instruments and drums have been recovered from Harrappa and Mohenjo Daro by excavations carried out by Sir Mortimer Wheeler.

The Rigveda has elements of present Indian music, with a musical notation to denote the metre and the mode of chanting. Indian classical music (marga) is monophonic, and based on a single melody line or raga rhythmically organized through talas. Hindustani music was influenced by the Persian performance practices of the Afghan Mughals. Carnatic music popular in the southern states, is largely devotional; the majority of the songs are addressed to the Hindu deities. There are a lot of songs emphasizing love and other social issues.

Asian music covers the music cultures of Arabia, Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Chinese classical music, the traditional art or court music of China, has a history stretching over around three thousand years. It has its own unique systems of musical notation, as well as musical tuning and pitch, musical instruments and styles or musical genres. Chinese music is pentatonic-diatonic, having a scale of twelve notes to an octave (5 + 7 = 12) as does European-influenced music. Persian music is the music of Persia and Persian language countries: musiqi, the science and art of music, and muzik, the sound and performance of music (Sakata 1983).

Ancient Greece

Music was an important part of social and cultural life in Ancient Greece. Musicians and singers played a prominent role in Greek theater. Mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration, and spiritual ceremonies. Instruments included the double-reed aulos and a plucked string instrument, the lyre, principally the special kind called a kithara.

Music was an important part of education, and boys were taught music starting at age six. Greek musical literacy created a flowering of music development. Greek music theory included the Greek musical modes, that eventually became the basis for Western religious and classical music. Later, influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe, and the Byzantine Empire changed Greek music. The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world.

References in the Bible

Music and theatre scholars studying the history and anthropology of Semitic and early Judeo-Christian culture have discovered common links in theatrical and musical activity between the classical cultures of the Hebrews and those of later Greeks and Romans. The common area of performance is found in a "social phenomenon called litany," a form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications. The Journal of Religion and Theatre notes that among the earliest forms of litany, "Hebrew litany was accompanied by a rich musical tradition:"

In the News ...

Background music disrupts creativity and verbal reasoning, experts say   Daily Mail - February 28, 2019
The common belief that music boosts brain function and spurs creativity may be little more than a myth, after researchers found 'strong' evidence to suggest the opposite to be true. Music was found to significantly 'disrupt' a host of brain functions that are associated with creativity, including verbal ability and problem solving, a new study has showed. Performing these tasks under library environments however did not affect performance when compared to with working in the quiet. Putting background music on while you work or revise could in fact stunt creativity and prevents concentration, contrary to popular belief.

First violins imitated human voices: study   PhysOrg - May 22, 2018
Researchers asked a professional violinist to play 15 antique instruments, including one from 1570 by Andrea Amati, the early 16th-century luthier from Cremony, Italy who is considered to be the father of the modern four-string violin. Others played in the study were from the Stradivarius family, conceived by Antonio Stradivari, who improved upon Amati's design. First, researchers recorded scales played on the 15 antique instruments played by a professional violinist and recorded at Taiwan's Chimei Museum. Then, they recorded the voices of eight men and eight women, ranging in age from 16 to 30 years, who sang common English vowels. Performing a thorough acoustic analysis, they found that an Amati violin dating to 1570 and a Gasparo da Salo violin dating to 1560 mimicked the basses and baritones of male singers, "raising the possibility that master violinmakers from this period may have designed violins to emulate male voices," said the report.

That music playing in your head is a real conundrum for scientists   PhysOrg - November 10, 2017
Researchers at EPFL can now see what happens in our brains when we hear music in our heads. The researchers hope that in time their findings will be used to help people who have lost the ability to speak. When we listen to music, different parts of our brain process different information - such as high and low frequencies - so that our auditory perception of the sounds matches what we hear. It's easy to study the brain activity of someone who is listening to a song, for instance, as we have the technology to record and analyze the neural responses that each sound produces as it is heard. It's much more complicated, however, to try and understand what happens in our brain when we hear music in our heads without any auditory stimulation. As with analyzing real music, the brain's responses have to be linked to a given sound. But when the music is in our heads, that sound doesn't actually exist - or at least our ears don't hear it. Using a novel approach, researchers with EPFL's Defitech Foundation Chair in Human-Machine Interface (CNBI) were able to analyze what happens in our brains when we hum in our heads.

Newly-developed hands-free musical instrument now allows people to make music with their minds   Science Daily - July 12, 2017
Neurologists have created a hands-free, thought-controlled musical instrument. They hope that this new instrument will help empower and rehabilitate patients with motor disabilities such as those from stroke, spinal cord injury, amputation, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The story of music is the story of humans   PhysOrg - June 20, 2017

When did our ancestors begin making music? If we take singing, then controlling pitch is important. Scientists have studied the fossilized skulls and jaws of early apes, to see if they were able to vocalize and control pitch. About a million years ago, the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans had the vocal anatomy to "sing" like us, but it's impossible to know if they did. Another important component of music is rhythm. Our early ancestors may have created rhythmic music by clapping their hands. This may be linked to the earliest musical instruments, when somebody realized that smacking stones or sticks together doesn't hurt your hands as much. Many of these instruments are likely to have been made from soft materials like wood or reeds, and so haven't survived. What have survived are bone pipes. Some of the earliest ever found are made from swan and vulture wing bones and are between 39,000 and 43,000 years old. Other ancient instruments have been found in surprising places. For example, there is evidence that people struck stalactites or "rock gongs" in caves dating from 12,000 years ago, with the caves themselves acting as resonators for the sound.

Earworms: Why Do Songs Get Stuck in Your Head?   Live Science - March 5, 2017
The overall conclusion is that the song has to be quite simple in order to be recalled spontaneously, but also have something a bit unique that makes the brain want to rehearse it over and over. Scientists sometimes refer to earworms as "involuntary musical imagery," or INMI. Like it or not, the brain gloms on to recent and frequently heard songs. A 2013 study in the journal Psychology of Music, for example, found that the more familiar the song, the more likely it was to become an earworm. Participants didn't have to think too hard about the music to get it stuck in their heads, as anyone who has started humming along to a grocery-store soundtrack can probably attest: The researchers found that asking study participants questions about the songs, to make them process the music more deeply, did not affect the chance that the music would go full-earworm on them.

An earworm, sometimes known as a brainworm, sticky music, or stuck song syndrome, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing. Phrases used to describe an earworm include "musical imagery repetition", "involuntary musical imagery", and "stuck song syndrome". Read more...

Music in the brain: The first imaging genetic study linking dopaminergic genes to music   Science Daily - December 21, 2016
Sounds, such as music and noise, are capable of reliably affecting individuals' moods and emotions, possibly by regulating brain dopamine, a neurotransmitter strongly involved in emotional behavior and mood regulation. However, the relationship of sound environments with mood and emotions is highly variable across individuals. A putative source of variability is genetic background, a study shows. Sounds, such as music and noise, are capable of reliably affecting individuals' moods and emotions, possibly by regulating brain dopamine, a neurotransmitter strongly involved in emotional behavior and mood regulation. However, the relationship of sound environments with mood and emotions is highly variable across individuals. A putative source of variability is genetic background.

Lab experiment demonstrates form of musical evolution   PhysOrg - December 21, 2016
A trio of researchers has conducted an experiment that they claim demonstrates musical evolution in the lab. In their paper they describe lab experiments they conducted using sound with volunteers, and what they believe their results show regarding rhythmic evolution in music.

Your Brain's Music Circuit Has Been Discovered   - March 17, 2016

Certain neurons have music selectivity which stirs questions about the role of music in human life. Why do our brains contain music-selective neurons? Could some evolutionary purpose have led to neurons devoted to music? McDermott says the study can't answer such questions. But he is excited by the fact that it shows music has a unique biological effect. We presume those neurons are doing something in relation to the analysis of music that allows you to extract structure, following melodies or rhythms, or maybe extract emotion.

3D-Printed Instruments Rock Out   Discovery - November 5, 2015
The multi- project is a collaboration between designers at Florida architecture and design house Monad Studios and musician/luthier Scott F. Hall. The design of each instrument, required three to six months, including this two-string piezoelectric violin. In case you're wondering, piezoelectric is standard in electric guitar pickups. It's the tech that translates the vibrations of the strings into music.

3 Good Reasons You Should Be Listening To More Music   Epoch Times - August 29, 2015
Doctors and researchers are increasingly recognizing the physiological impact of music on the body's natural rhythms. Music can also help us help ourselves. A Time-Tested, Natural Remedy Back in the Stone Age, man created crude instruments in an attempt to contact God and connect to the natural world. We invented the drum in response to thunder and the flute in response to wind, and for thousands of years since then, we've used music and chanting as a way to naturally treat and ward off disease.

1. Use sound to sleep soundly.
2. Tune in at work to tune out distractions. 3. Create harmony in your home.

Humans around the world dance to the same beat   Science Daily - June 29, 2015

A new study has found that songs from around the world tend to share features, including a strong rhythm, that enable coordination in social situations and encourage group bonding. Despite decades of skepticism about the presence of cross-culturally universal aspects of music, the study provides strong evidence for the existence of common features in global music.

Musicians don't just hear in tune, they also see in tune   Science Daily - June 18, 2015
Auditory melodies can enhance a musician's visual awareness of written music, particularly when the two match, a new experiment shows. That is the conclusion of the latest scientific experiment designed to puzzle out how the brain creates an apparently seamless view of the external world based on the information it receives from the eyes.

Was Beethoven's music literally heartfelt? Could cardiac arrhythmia have influenced famous works?   PhysOrg - January 7, 2015
Could it be that when Ludwig van Beethoven composed some of the greatest masterpieces of all time that he was quite literally following his heart? The striking rhythms found in some of Beethoven's most famous works may have been inspired by his own heartbeat, says a team of researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Washington that includes a cardiologist, medical historian, and musicologist.

Two brain regions join forces for absolute pitch   PhysOrg - January 7, 2015
People who have "absolute pitch" can identify notes immediately without relying on a reference tone. Researchers have now detected a close functional link between the auditory cortex in the brain and the frontal lobe in these extraordinary people a discovery that is not only important in theory, but also in practice. Mozart, Bach and Beethoven are all supposed to have had it: "absolute pitch" the ability to identify and categorize a note without having to rely on any reference tones. People with absolute pitch perceive a note and can identify it accurately as C sharp, A or F sharp, for instance. Most other people are only able to distinguish between notes relatively. While, with a prevalence of one percent in the normal population, the remarkable ability is relatively rare, it is observed twenty percent more frequently in professional musicians. It is often suspected that this special hearing skill is a key aspect of extraordinary musical talent.

  Oldest Piece of Polyphonic Music Found: 1,100-Year-Old Chant   Epoch Times - December 31, 2014
Once chanted solemnly in devotion to Boniface, the patron saint of Germany, this music has not found voice in centuries. Giovanni Varelli, a music Ph.D. student at University of Cambridge, discovered it earlier this month. As an intern at the British Library, he came across a manuscript with an unusual notation, and he knew he'd made a significant discovery when he realized it consisted of two vocal parts complementing each other.

Sad music hits positive notes of emotional rewards   Live Science - November 9, 2014
"The Paradox of Music-Evoked Sadness: An Online Survey"
Sad tunes trigger emotions and experiences beyond sadness. For many individuals, listening to sad music can instead lead to beneficial emotional effects. Sadness is discouraged; it's a mood to flee. We tell children not to look so sad. We tell adults to wipe that sad look off their face and smile. We worry that prolonged sadness needs medical attention. So why do people deliberately spend their money to hear sad songs - and flock to big-ticket concerts, applauding the loudest for the saddest tunes imaginable? If sadness is such a negative, why do we send our money and time wallowing in sad tunes?

Is Musical Talent Rooted in Genes?   Live Science - August 6, 2014
Practice doesn't always make perfect when it comes to becoming the next Mozart, a new study suggests. Researchers compared pairs of identical twins, and found that no matter how hard one twin had practiced up until that point in their life, the other twin who had practiced much less still had an equal level of ability in certain musical skills. This may be because some aspects of musical talent are built into the genes, the researchers said.

The Strange Link Between Your Digital Music and Napoleon's Invasion of Egypt   Wired - June 9, 2014
In 1798 Joseph Fourier, a 30-year-old professor at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, received an urgent message from the minister of the interior informing him that his country required his services, and that he should be ready to depart at the first order. Two months later, Fourier set sail from Toulon as part of a 25,000-strong military fleet under the command of General Napoleon Bonaparte, whose unannounced objective was the invasion of Egypt. Fourier was one of 167 eminent scholars, the savants, assembled for the Egyptian expedition. Their presence reflected the French Revolution's ideology of scientific progress, and Napoleon, a keen amateur mathematician, liked to surround himself with colleagues who shared his interests.

How Musicians Prevent Chaos In A String Quartet   Live Science - January 29, 2014
When a classical string quartet starts playing, someone starts them off with a downbeat. Then it's every man or woman for themselves. But good string quartets seem to keep perfect time, playing each note at just the right beat, blending in and out just as the composer wished, seemingly in perfect unity. How do they do that without a conductor? A team of scientists and musicians from the United Kingdom and Germany wired two world-class string quartets with microphones plugged into computers running the same kind of program that Wall Street traders use to buy stocks and climatologists use to track and measure atmospheric changes in real time.

Hidden hierarchy in string quartets revealed   BBC - January 29, 2014
Scientists have come up with a way to reveal the pecking order within a string quartet. A team from the Royal Academy of Music and the University of Birmingham found that analyzing how individual musicians vary their timing to follow the rest of the group can indicate a hierarchy. They say it shows some quartets have a clear leader to ensure perfect harmony. However, in other "democratic" quartets the musicians all follow each other, playing an equal role.

Piped playground music may reduce bullying - June 12, 2013
Researchers played calming background music from the CD The Spirit of Yoga on speakers during a school's midday break. They found on days when the music, described as world music with a strong Indian influence, was played, there was an 80 per cent drop in physical and mental intimidation among pupils. The children also reported feeling calmer and happier when they returned to their classrooms. When the music was stopped, bullying increased again.

X-Rays Reveal Lost Aria in 200-Year-Old Opera   Live Science - June 12, 2013
Scientists have helped to restore Luigi Cherubini's opera "Medee" to its original glory. A lost aria, or solo song, from the piece, which Cherubini apparently smudged out in spite more than 200 years ago, has been revealed by x-ray scans. Cherubini was an Italian composer who worked mostly in France and counted Ludwig van Beethoven among his contemporaries and admirers. When Cherubini's French-language opera "Medee" premiered in 1797, critics whined that the opera was too long, and as legend has it, the composer cut the piece by about 500 bars.

Bach to the Blues, Our Emotions Match Music to Colors   Science Daily - May 17, 2013
Whether we're listening to Bach or the blues, our brains are wired to make music-color connections depending on how the melodies make us feel. People in both the United States and Mexico linked the same pieces of classical orchestral music with the same colors. This suggests that humans share a common emotional palette -- when it comes to music and color -- that appears to be intuitive and can cross cultural barriers, UC Berkeley researchers said. The results were remarkably strong and consistent across individuals and cultures and clearly pointed to the powerful role that emotions play in how the human brain maps from hearing music to seeing colors.

Brain Waves Transformed into Music   Live Science - November 15, 2012
Ever wondered what your brain sounds like when it thinks? Researchers in China did - so they invented a way to translate the brain's waves into music. In initial attempts, the scientists had ended up with tunes that were jangly and sometimes discordant, but more recently they discovered a way to make brain music sound better by combining data from the brain's electrical impulses with brain blood-flow measurements. Besides combining science with art, the researchers hope that, one day, brain music can be used to help people control their brain waves, easing conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Earliest music instruments found   BBC - May 26, 2012
Researchers have identified what they say are the oldest-known musical instruments in the world. The flutes, made from bird bone and mammoth ivory, come from a cave in southern Germany which contains early evidence for the occupation of Europe by modern humans - Homo sapiens. Scientists used carbon dating to show that the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old.

One of the flutes has been fashioned from mammoth ivory.

These results are consistent with a hypothesis made several years ago that the Danube River was a key corridor for the movement of humans and technological innovations into central Europe between 40,000-45,000 years ago. Geissenkloesterle is one of several caves in the region that has produced important examples of personal ornaments, figurative art, mythical imagery and musical instruments.

Research reveals the biochemical connection between music and emotion   PhysOrg - January 19, 2011
When music sounds this good, there's a reason: dopamine. The direct link between the elation stimulated by music and the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is the same substance that puts the joy in sex, the thrill in certain illegal drugs, and the warm feeling within a woman breast-feeding her child. The substance also may explain why the power of music crosses human cultures, the scientists said.

Study: Love music? Thank a substance in your brain   PhysOrg - January 9, 2011
Whether it's the Beatles or Beethoven, people like music for the same reason they like eating or having sex: It makes the brain release a chemical that gives pleasure, a new study says. The brain substance is involved both in anticipating a particularly thrilling musical moment and in feeling the rush from it, researchers found.

Music mimics the emotion of speech - December 14, 2009
Scientists have shown that the tones of happiness and sadness in speech are mimicked in musical chords. Aad or happy speech can be linked to minor and major chords found in music. a minor chord in music conveys sadness because that is how it sounds in every day patterns of speech. And a major chord, which composers often use to show happiness, matches the bright tone in a person's voice. Another study at the same university found humans understand emotions expressed through music because the music mimics the way emotions are expressed in speech, the study discovered.

Western Music's Universal Appeal Explained   National Geographic - March 21, 2009
Elvis croons in Ecuador and Kylie Minogue trills in Kazakhstan: Western music has pervaded every corner of the globe. Now this popularity has been partially explained: New research suggests that Western tunes even with no words can convey emotion across cultural barriers.

Language of music really is universal, study finds   PhysOrg - March 19, 2009
Native African people who have never even listened to the radio before can nonetheless pick up on happy, sad, and fearful emotions in Western music, according to a new report published online on March 19th in Current Biology. The result shows that the expression of those three basic emotions in music can be universally recognized, the researchers said. The expression of emotions is a basic feature of Western music, and the capacity of music to convey emotional expressions is often regarded as a prerequisite to its appreciation in Western cultures, the researchers explained. In other musical traditions, however, music is often appreciated for other qualities, such as group coordination in rituals.

Music Reduced to Beautiful Math   Live Science - May 7, 2008
It's hard for anyone to say what music looks like, but a new mathematical approach sees classical music as cone-shaped and jazz as pyramid-like. The connections between math and music are many, from the unproven Mozart effect (the idea that playing Mozart's music to children might improve their mathematical abilities) to the music of the spheres (the ancient belief that proportions in the movements of the planets could be viewed as a form of music). Now scientists have created a mathematical system for understanding music.

Music has its own geometry, researchers find   PhysOrg - April 17, 2008
The figure shows how geometrical music theory represents four-note chord-types -- the collections of notes form a tetrahedron, with the colors indicating the spacing between the individual notes in a sequence. In the blue spheres, the notes are clustered, in the warmer colors, they are farther apart. The red ball at the top of the pyramid is the diminished seventh chord, a popular 19th-century chord. Near it are all the most familiar chords of Western music.

Earliest Known Voice Recording Discovered in France   National Geographic - March 29, 2008
The recording predates Thomas Edison's "Mary Had a Little Lamb" previously credited as the oldest recorded voice by 17 years. The tune was captured using a phonautograph, a device created by Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville that created visual recordings of sound waves.

Oldest record voices sing again - made in 1860   BBC - March 28, 2008
An "ethereal" 10 second clip of a woman singing a French folk song has been played for the first time in 150 years. You hear a woman singing "Au Clair de la Lune," taken from a so-called phonautogram, was recently discovered by audio historian David Giovannoni. The recording predates Thomas Edison's "Mary had a little lamb" -- previously credited as the oldest recorded voice -- by 17 years.
The Phonautograph Wikipedia

New study identifies links between musical tastes and lifestyle PhysOrg - September 14, 2006
The music we listen to can tell a lot more than you might think about what kind of people we are, according to research findings by a University of Leicester psychologist.

Geometric maps reveal hidden beauty of music   New Scientist - July 7, 2006
A new way of visualizing chord progressions sheds light on why conventional and experimental music compositions both sound pleasant to the ear. Musical maps made with this method could guide inexperienced composers to produce better pieces, researchers suggest. The order in which the notes are written in a representation of a chord can make a difference geometrically, it makes no difference musically CG sounds the same as GC. To overcome this conflict, the mapping system relies on non-Euclidean geometry.

Composer reveals musical chords' hidden geometry   Princeton News - July 7, 2006 Princeton University musician has shown that advanced geometry actually does offer a tool for understanding musical structure. In an attempt to answer age-old questions about how basic musical elements work together, Dmitri Tymoczko has journeyed far into the land of topology and non-Euclidean geometry, and has returned with a new -- and comparatively simple -- way of understanding how music is constructed. His findings have resulted in the first paper on music theory that the journal Science has printed in its 127-year history, and may provide an additional theoretical tool for composers searching for that elusive next chord.

Research aims at understanding mysterious music phenomenon PhysOrg - June 29, 2006
Mari Kimura is an acclaimed Japanese violinist who has the rare ability of producing strange sounds with her instrument. She doesn't know how this is possible. Mari Kimura is a New York based solo violinist that usually lectures at the acknowledged Juilliard School of Music. She is one of the extremely few people who can produce controlled subharmonic tones on violin. Kimura has developed this trait to a signature feature in her compositions and improvisations. The sounds she plays on violin are usually found in a cello.

Researchers Find Where Musical Memories Are Stored In The Brain   Science Daily - April 26, 2005
A group of Dartmouth researchers has learned that the brain's auditory cortex, the part that handles information from your ears, holds on to musical memories. The team found that if people are listening to music that is familiar, they mentally call upon auditory imagery, or memories, to fill in the gaps if the music cuts out. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity, the researchers found that study participants could mentally fill in the blanks if a familiar song was missing short snippets. "We played music in the scanner [fMRI], and then we hit a virtual 'mute' button," says first author David Kraemer, a graduate student in Dartmouth's Psychological and Brain Sciences Department. "We found that people couldn't help continuing the song in their heads, and when they did this, the auditory cortex remained active even though the music had stopped."

North American infants are more adept than adults at recognizing complex musical rhythms   National Geographic - March 8, 2005
North American infants are more adept than adults at recognizing complex musical rhythms, according to a recent study. The findings suggest that the ability to discern irregular rhythms could be "unlearned" in cultures that emphasize more simple musical structures. North American adults are not "rhythm challenged," the study says. They have plenty of rhythm, but they are accustomed to more regular meter, the music's underlying beat.

Crystalinks: Synesthesia
Synesthesia is a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes. In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme -> color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored, while in ordinal linguistic personification, numbers, days of the week and months of the year evoke personalities. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be "farther away" than 1990), or may have a (three-dimensional) view of a year as a map (clockwise or counterclockwise).

Synaesthesia: The Color of Music   Scotsman - January 1, 2005
In musical synaesthetes, it is not uncommon to find the wonderful gift of perfect pitch. I've always been aware that the days of the week have distinct colors, as do the names of months, numbers and letters of the alphabet, though they've faded with the years. As a child I discovered my sister had the same peculiarity, though her color system was different. Since then I had assumed it was normal. My type seems to be the commonest, but mingled experiences of smell, taste and touch are much rarer. Most commonly linked sensations are visual and auditory, taste and touch, olfactory and auditory. Most synaesthetes are women; assessments vary, but it may be eight times more common in females. Even more oddly, there is a link with people who have odd experiences such as dj vu, premonitions or clairvoyance.

Body movement to create music   BBC - July 12, 2004
Scientists are developing ways of capturing human movement in three dimensions which would allow music to be created with the gesture of an arm. It would eliminate the need for music technicians to twiddle hundreds of knobs to achieve the perfect sound. The technique could also be used for scrolling a webpage, especially useful for people with limited mobility.

Ancient Indians made 'rock music'   BBC - March 19, 2004
Ancient Indians made 'rock music' - Archaeologists have rediscovered a huge rockart site in southern India where ancient people used boulders to make musical sounds in rituals. The Kupgal Hill site includes rocks with unusual depressions that were designed to be struck with the purpose of making loud, musical ringing tones. It was lost after its discovery in 1892, so this is the first fresh effort to describe the site in over a century. Details of the research are outlined in the archaeological journal Antiquity. A dyke on Kupgal Hill contains hundreds and perhaps thousands of rock art engravings, or petroglyphs, a large quantity of which date to the Neolithic, or late Stone Age (several thousand years BC). Researchers think shamans or young males came to the site to carry out rituals and to "tap into" the power of the site. However, some of it is now at threat from quarrying activities. The boulders which have small, groove-like impressions are called "musical stones" by locals. When struck with small granite rocks, these impressions emit deep, "gong-like notes".

Kupgal Petroglyphs   Wikipedia
The Kupgal petroglyphs are works of rock art found at Kupgal in Bellary district of Karnataka, India. Thousands of petroglyphs have been found at Kupgal, which date to the neolithic or even the old stone age. The site, which includes examples of rock gongs, was discovered first in 1892, but subsequently became lost to researchers until it was rediscovered in the early 21st century. This site features peculiar rock formations with unusual depressions which make musical sounds when struck with boulders.

Music makes brain learn better   BBC - July 27, 2003
The hours spent mastering the violin or piano are worthwhile - music lessons boost children's memories. Researchers from Hong Kong have found children who are given musical training have better verbal memories than those who have not had lessons. They say their findings could help people recovering from a brain injury as well as healthy children. Psychologists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong studied 90 boys between the ages of six and 15.