On Classical Music

‘The Half King” by Douglas Adams is, in many ways, inspired by “From the New World” by Antonin Dvorak. The tune resembles the one that serves as an inspiration to it by using a pentatonic scale and syncopated rhythm.  The harmony of the tune is dominated by brass instruments. Dissonance dominates the tune by creating an unstable tension that is resolved in the end. ‘The Half King” has a ceremonial feeling to it. The upbeat tune reminds of official celebrations.

Emmanuel Chabrier composed his famous Habanera for the piano, and the tune was arranged for the orchestra some time after. Because of this, the rhythm, harmony, and the volume of the piece are unusually calm for the orchestral music. Habanera appears to be a piece composed for a small ensemble, and the fact that it is played by the orchestra makes it unusual.  Habanera is influenced by traditional Spanish music (Hinson 80) The slow tempo helps to emphasize the characteristic rhythm.  The cross-rhythm is syncopated, and there is an accent on the upbeat in the middle of the piece.  The time signature of the rhythm is 2/4. The intervals within the melody are both conjunct and disjunct, as they constantly change. The melody goes up and down, unexpectedly enters the higher register, and calms down in the end. Habanera makes the audience peaceful and engaged at the same time by combining slow tempo with strong rhythm. About tempo and rhythm you can read in importance of music essay.

“The Unanswered Question” by Charles Ives is composed of simple harmonies. The instruments play at independent tempos (Hitchcock, Wiley &Zahler 440). There are three groups of instruments: strings, a trumpet, and a woodwind quartet. The main emphasize of the tune is the trumpet that is extremely noticeable in contrast to unified clarinet, oboe, and string sections. The contrast in rhythm and melody of different instruments is set to bring a special meaning to the tune. Trumpet stands for “question of existence,” while other instruments are the “answers” that fail to explain the questions of existence.”The Unanswered Question” evokes complicated feelings in a listener. It makes one think about the purpose of life. After the tune ends, it leaves the person to deal with the feeling of melancholia (Baron 40). Such melancholia is explained by the harmonies of the strings. Moreover, the unusual structure makes the tune cosmic and detached.

“Going Home” by Antonin Dvorak is the song that resembles the spiritual music genre. The tune is influenced by the traditional music of Africa and Native American music. The tune has a common time signature. It begins with D-flat major and ends in C-sharp minor. The main theme is a simple, and yet, a broad melody. It is delivered by the cor anglais (Keller). The middle section differs from the rest of the tune because of the C sharp minor passage. The tune has a nostalgic mood that does not feel like a detached one. As the major sections contrast with minor sections, the listener feels absorbed by a feeling of a hopeful melancholy.

“From the New World” by Antonin Dvorak is characterized by pentatonic scale. The rhythms are both syncopated and dotted. The main key of the tune is E minor. The four movements of the tunes are entirely different, with each of them comprising a separate work(Service). The abovementioned “Going Home” is the song based on the second movement. The first movement has a form of sonata and a slow tempo. The third movement has a distinguishing A-B-A form. Finally, the last movement returns to the form of a sonata. “From the New World” cannot be boiled down to a single feeling because of its complexity.

How Music Brings Us Together

Interestingly, in a world where many things are tearing us apart –from terrorism to drug trafficking –  music seems to continue bringing people closer together no matter their race, political beliefs, gender, religion, sexuality and any other affiliations. Moreover, despite the language used to compose the song, listening to music has been shown in many studies to directly impact the brain’s neurochemicals, leading to the situation when people start to feel close and connected to one another (Egermann, Fernando, Chuen, and McAdams 3). Thus, with reference to the video Common Practice, it is evident that as individuals listen to music, they are literally and figuratively brought together through an increase in empathy, cooperation, and social connection.

First and foremost, music is composed primarily by artist’s experiences. That is, he or she writes about what they personally experience in life. Since people’s experiences are in most cases similar – love, hate, happiness, and sadness to name a few – they tend to connect on an emotional level about what the artist experiences, or his moods at the moment. In the video Common Practice one can see that all individuals are going through their own lives with their own emotions being experienced. Some individuals in the video are sad, some happy, silent, jovial but as soon as the boy hits the notes on the violin, everyone stops and listens (Efron, Marcos). Suddenly, they all adapt to one empathetic mood dictated by the boy playing the violin. It seems as though the song reminds them of some special moment in their lives when things were calm or creates the sense of peace and tranquility. This atmosphere is so intense that all of them appear to enjoy the moment of fulfillment and have their moods change instantly. Scientifically, music has been shown to increase and activate cognitive events in different parts of the brain (Bakagiannis and Tarrant 129). These areas include the circuit of the brain, a section responsible for the developed understanding of interpersonal and intrapersonal communication – a social skill linked to empathy (Bakagiannis and Tarrant 130). As a result, when people listen to a particular piece of music composed by a fellow human being (an artist, not a machine), their “theory of mind” circuit and critical network lights up leading to an increase on empathy level.

Secondly, through music people cooperate on social, cultural, or spiritual levels. When I think of the favorite lullabies passed down from one generation to another, the national anthem, football anthems, the favorite cultural or religious songs, emotionally they are connected, and physically coordinated in a unique way. When individuals notice that someone loves the same song that we love, or enjoys the song as much as they do, it is not just about entertainment to them, but rather a means of connection (Schäfer et al, 2). In the video Common Practice people are going about their business without any care about things or other people. But then, as soon as the boy strolls along holding the violin people start taking notice of his music and the surroundings (Efron, Marcos). When he starts playing the violin, people are taken to another state of mind. Soon after the gloomy guy in the taxi begins admiring his girlfriend, the mother holds her baby tighter, two lovers continue smiling, and people in the streets talk to one another as they leave (Efron, Marcos). Studies show that cooperation and social cohesion is higher within groups that listen to familiar music pieces with the peers (Tarr, Launay and Dunbar, 1-2). The effect is also true across cultures where interdependence is not valued much as music tends to act as a “social glue”; bringing all individuals closer together.

Thirdly, people in love, as well as mothers and their babies bond even greatly through music. These groups of people attach meaning to pieces of music, and common listening increases their attraction to one another. Whenever mothers are with their babies, lovers or partners are together; they can turn to music to boost their bond levels. Once their favorite songs are playing, whether together or not, the bond of such persons between one another strengthens: That is one of the reasons people listen to a piece of music and remember their loved ones. In the video Common Practice, we see two lovers giggling and romancing at the stairways (Efron, Marcos). As the boy goes up the stairs with the violin, they follow him and sit close to his door. As soon as the boy starts playing the violin, they seem to move through a wave of emotions and love, and as soon as the song is over, they seem to have bonded over it even more and start caressing one another passionately (Efron, Marcos). In the same manner, the mother and her child listen to the music and bond on “another level.” The mother seems to love the child even more and caresses the baby as they listen to the song together (Efron, Marcos). Scientist believes that oxytocin – a chemical affiliated with sexual bond and breastfeeding – increases significantly when listening to music (Suttie). The increase in the levels of oxytocin deepens feeling of bonding, love, and trust between people in love and with the mother and child. Consequently, they – lovers or mother and child – become more attached to one another while listening to a particular piece of music together.

Lastly, the music cuts across all cultures and goes over all cultural barriers. It does not matter whether one understand the words or not, listening to a great piece of music ticks people’s senses in a way not possible by any other piece of art. The reason why some of the most listened songs on YouTube are foreign – Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, Gangnam Style (Korean) by Psy, Bailando (Spanish) by Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno, and Genre De Sona as other examples. This is due to the fact that music communicates to all people in a unique way (Moloney). In the video Common Practice there is a representation of people from different cultures, genders, and races. Nonetheless, the sound of the music from the violinist reaches to them all. They all stand and take notice of the boy’s rhythm, enjoying it in their own ways. The old, the young, the men, the women, the children, all being representatives of different cultures, listen to the music with smiles on their faces as the violin soothes their ears. McGill University study on the effects of music across all cultures, the researchers found out that although various cultures feel differently about the impact of a particular piece of music – whether good or bad – their physiological and subjective response to whether the music brings excitement or calmness appeared to be universal (Egermann et al 3). Thus, it does not matter whether one comes from the most remote part of Africa, or is a hipster in Montreal, there are certain aspects of music that will touch anyone in a similar way.

In conclusion, music brings us together through bonding in a physical, social, or emotional way. Members of any specific group attracted to a specific piece of music seem in-tune with one another. Watching the video Common Practice one realizes that music cuts across all ages, cultures, and races. After listening to some piece of music, the social cooperation and cohesion levels increase tremendously. Scientific evidence points to higher levels of oxytocin and increased brain activities in the circuit area as responsible for how people respond to music. Through the increased levels of oxytocin and elevated cognitive activities, music affects people in a similar manner and leads to their responding in universal manner. The more people listen to the music, the more they become attached to one another. At a time when the world faces crisis after crisis, music is here to restore the faith, love, and unity that humans have towards one another. Thus, as individuals strive to understand and support each other, they can do so in one of the most delightful ways possible – through music.

Top 10 strange musical instruments that somehow became trendy and popular

Music has been evolving at a high rate over the years and throughout the evolution, musicians have invented many musical instruments and some became popular across the world while others were even more strange and weird. While musical instruments makers still make some instruments to give listeners new experiences and sounds, there are a number of instruments that are strange but somehow became trendy and popular. Here is a look of 10 of these strange musical instruments that managed to become popular and trendy.

Hyperbass Flute

  1. Hyperbass Flute

A hyperbass flute is the largest member of the flute family and it compromises of over 15 meters in piping. Its massiveness has made it be a unique instrument and strange to many with early reports already showing that it is already gaining interest across the music industry despite it being a relatively new instrument.

Array Mbira

  1. Array Mbira

This is one of t sweetest sounding musical instrument on the list, with a designed that inspires a re-imagination of African instrument Mbira. Array Mbira is the brainchild of Bill Wesley. It produces music when skilled fingers push down and release the bent high carbon steel tines. Despite the instrument being strange, it is popular with several musicians including Sting, Zakir Hussain, and other musicians.

Hydraulophone

 

  1. Hydraulophone

As the name states, this instrument produces the sound hydraulically meaning it uses water in the creation of sound. The instrument is played by blocking water flow through fingers in order to produce distinctive sounds. Varied types of sounds are created when water is blocked, which redirects it a sound production mechanism that depends on the water flow and pressure for sound to be created.

Zeusaphone

  1. Zeusaphone

Zeusaphone which is also known as Thoramin or Singing Tesla Coil is one of the strangest musical instruments in this list. The instrument is essentially a plasma speaker and solid Tesla coil that lets it create musical sounds by modulating the spark output of the Tesla coil. The Tesla coil also comes with a shocking effect that causes awesome lightning-like sparks. Zeusaphone has been featured the film ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ by Disney in 2010.

Gravikord

  1. Gravikord

Gravikord was invented in 1986 by Bob Grawi and was developed from Kora, a West Africa instrument with the inclusion of the kalimba design. The instrument is a 54-inch long with a welded stainless frame and wood-turning block that is supplemented by a guitar-like tuning machine. Gravikord is on its way to further fame after it found appreciation from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Cello Horn

  1. Cello Horn

Cello Horn is an instrument that produces sound by blowing the strings and came out through the brass horn which was unique compared to the one sound came out via a traditional wooden body. This hybrid instrument made the pages of Popular Science Monthly magazines in the 1930s as it was a strange type of musical instrument.

Singing Ringing Tree

  1. Singing Ringing Tree

The Singing Ringing Tree is an amazing piece of musical instrument that creates music when the wind blows through varying length of pipes to create an eerie sound. The original tower of this instrument was constructed near Lancashire in England in 2006, while another one was constructed in 2017 in Austin, Texas.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ

  1. The Great Stalacpipe Organ

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is one of the best organs in the world that produce sound. The instrument which is located in Luray Caverns in the United States is cable of producing various pitches with rubber mallets. Invented by Leland sprinkle, the piece can play 37 different notes.

Theremin

  1. Theremin

Theremin was popular for its less or no touch play. The players make the instrument produce sound by moving their hands in proximity to two “antennas.” Invented in the 1920s by Lev Termen theremin went down to musical history after being used in the film “Leon Theremin” a science fiction movie.

Pyrophone

  1. Pyrophone

Another strange organ is the Pyrophone which is powered by combustion and explosion in order to produce sound. For sound to be produced, the organ is powered by propane and gasoline. The resulting explosions force sound down to the pipes and the player then regulates the pipes to create a musical sound.

Conclusion

These instruments, each during its existence was viewed as strange and hence captured a lot of attention even though some of these instruments were hard to spread across the world, but their popularity was well shared.

Apps Where A User Can Play Music

When the iPod changed the way people consume no one would imagine that more was to come. It is now two decades since the iPod and music consumers now have something better than the iPod, the smartphone. Smartphones have made it more straightforward for people to play music in various formats using apps. Listeners can stream music or download it and play it from their phones. The following are apps that allow users to play their favorite music.

Spotify Music

Spotify Music is one of the leading music apps that enable users to play music on their phones. Users simply download the app and install it and they are ready to play any track, artist or album of their choice.  The app is available for both iOS and Android platforms. There is no restriction to the kind of music you can listen to, when and where. You also don’t have to worry about downloading and filling your hard drive and further organize music files before you can enjoy your music. It’s instant and simple to use, and users can choose a premium plan of a free plan.

 

Amazon Music

This is an excellent app that comes in different variations. Once you get to understand these variations you are in for good entertainment. With this app, you can play music bought from Amazon through AutoRip service. If you buy a premium membership, you gain access to 2 million ad-free songs. You may also opt to pay for full product services and gain access to 40 million songs. The app interface has Amazon signature black and gray colors which many users are familiar with. It has large banners and a sidebar for scrolling through categories. The app further allows offline listening since it allows users to download their music. You can download countless songs and furthermore, you can use the app on 10 authorized devices concurrently. This is a plus.  You should try it before considering an alternative.

 

Google Play Music

This is another interesting app that has the potential to charm music lovers. For a monthly subscription of $9.99, you can access over 20 million songs. You can also access thousands of curated music stations and videos. You can customize the app to suit your preferences and play music anytime anywhere.

Since it is downloadable and installable on chrome, iOS, and Android, it is usable on a variety of devices including mobile phone and Chromecast speakers. If you subscribe to Google Play, you can access the YouTube Music Key beta platform and watch tones of ad-free music videos. The interesting part is you don’t have to keep your YouTube app open, and that is not all, the app allows you to import all music collection that you on other platforms or devices and upload it to the cloud and then syncs it with all your devices. The app can download music, single songs or entire albums, and thus if you have a preference for downloading music you should definitely try it.

Rhapsody

Like the other apps on this list, Rhapsody will allow you to play as many songs as you wish. You may play the song as singles, full albums or curated playlists. For a monthly subscription of $9.99, you can access over 32 million songs. Like Google Play Music, it has a download feature that allows users to download playlists or albums and thus play them offline easily. It also runs on various OS and thus it is compatible with many devices including Apple and Android phones and tablets, ford sync systems and Xbox 360.

 

Deezer

This is another Android and iOS compatible app that is popular for music streaming. The app enables the users to stream unlimited ad-supported music on handheld devices or PC. For the smartphone users, the app has a feature that enables users to stream a personalized playlist. The feature also brings you suggestions of songs, albums, and artist that are similar to your favorites or preferences. The app also has a premium subscription version that is ad-free with improved audio quality. Users can also download songs and listen to them offline.

 

Conclusion

Music enthusiasts no longer have to organize their music on their own or invest on large hard disk for storage. With these apps, listeners can organize their music and playlists easily using the apps’ inbuilt mechanism. Listeners, can search, stream, download and share music. They have access to over 30 million songs of different genres, and artists that they can listen to at any time.