Tunes that take you towards positivity

Tunes that take you towards positivity

Influence of music

Music is known to have interesting paradigms. It has meaning and evokes emotions. In the Indian music scene, singers and rappers like Yo Yo Honey Singh, Badshah and Diljit Dosanjh have incredible fan following for their songs, disregarding their (sometimes) misleading (and ‘nonsensical’) lyrics. While we tend to agree with Vladimir Lenin’s saying ‘One quick way to destroy a society is through its music’, many believe that music
has only positive influence on people.

Dr Nandini C Singh, scientist, National Brain Research Centre, conducted a research on ‘Emotional Responses to Hindustani Raga music: the role of Musical Structure’. It says that music impacts the brain only in a positive way.

While she writes exclusively about Hindustani raga music in her papers, but the melody section of a documentary, ‘How Music Works’ highlights how good melodies in every genre are created with melodic principles, such as musical notes that are universal to all cultures.

“Whatever type of music you are into, it may surprise you that tunes that sound different from each other on the surface are created using the same musical tools or techniques.

Most songs are based on simple yet profound five pentatonic notes, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Even Led Zeppelin’s popular track ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is quintessentially pentatonic,” says English composer Howard Goodall in the documentary.

The show progresses to feature how a great melody can be created with these five notes randomly placed at different intervals on a musical ladder. “That’s how many great songs are created,” says Goodall in the show.

Thus, if many songs have imprudent lyrics, and are yet gaining popularity among youth, it is probably because of the melodies in these songs.

On the question and answer website Quora, a user responds to the question ‘Why do people like Honey Singh’ saying that his songs are catchy and one wants to sing along his songs, even if they don’t make sense. “I feel that’s the whole point of music,”
the user mentions in the response viewed nearly 1,800 times.

“Lyrics enhance the whole experience of listening to music. But from a scientist’s point of view, we must conduct a good controlled experiment to see if the respective impact is because of lyrics or music,” says Singh, adding that despite being an interesting area of study, not much research has been done on the topic.

Daniel Waples, an independent musician from London, is famous for playing handpan, an instrument which he says is “perfectly positioned between a percussion and a melodic instrument”.

He shares with Metrolife the emotional and mental influences that he experienced as he switched to playing handpan from traditional West African music.

“I still remember my energy after playing West African music. I couldn’t sleep, was very impatient, had a lot more piercings and tried to dress in a more individualistic way. Then, I found my outlet in music with handpan which gave complete artistic freedom to my life,” he says.

According to Waples, many people turn to handpan for relaxation, healing and to slow down the pace of some elements of their life.

 Singh, agreeing to this observation about music, says, “Music is a very powerful medium in terms of society. One experiences a lot of surprises in their journey with music. But it has so much variety that teasing apart its affects on the society can be very difficult.”

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