Mu­si­cal Moods

Ain’t Mis­be­havin’

Business Traveler (USA) - - WORLD WISE - By Terri Mor­ri­son

My par­ents are mu­si­cians. Alas, I have not been blessed with the same tal­ents. But at least I truly ap­pre­ci­ate how mu­sic can bring you to your feet, or to tears. It has in­spired and cap­ti­vated peo­ple – ev­i­dently for as long as peo­ple have ex­isted. Hu­mans have been writ­ing mu­sic for mil­len­nia. The old­est no­tated com­po­si­tions were dis­cov­ered in present-day Syria and date back to 1400 BCE. This col­lec­tion is called The Hur­rian Songs and was prob­a­bly played on a lyre 3,400 years ago.

But 40,000 years be­fore those hymns were chis­eled onto clay tablets, mu­si­cians made in­stru­ments. Gor­geous an­cient ivory and bird bone flutes were re­cently found in Ger­many’s Geis­sen kloesterle Cave, and it’s in­ter­est­ing to note that while the Homo sapi­ens were carv­ing mam­moth tusks, Ne­an­derthals were liv­ing in Europe too. Some pos­tu­late that the so­cial net­works formed by play­ing and shar­ing mu­sic prob­a­bly helped ex­pand the ter­ri­to­ries of the nascent Homo sapi­ens. This in turn could have led to the ul­ti­mate ex­tinc­tion of Ne­an­derthals, who qui­etly dis­ap­peared around 30,000 years ago.


Why do hu­mans love mu­sic? In his book Mu­si­cophilia: Tales of Mu­sic and the Brain, Dr. Oliver Sacks de­scribes the neu­ro­log­i­cal rea­son.“Mu­sic works be­cause it en­gages so many parts of the brain. Rhythm, ac­tual or imag­ined, ac­ti­vates ar­eas of the mo­tor cor­tex, cru­cial in syn­chro­niz­ing and en­er­giz­ing move­ment. Mu­sic, uniquely among the arts, is both com­pletely ab­stract and pro­foundly emo­tional. It has a unique power to ex­press in­ner states or feel­ings. It can pierce the heart di­rectly; it needs no me­di­a­tion.”

He also points out that in­tense mu­si­cal train­ing has been proven to stim­u­late the de­vel­op­ment of spe­cific parts of the brain, par­tic­u­larly the left hemi­sphere and the cor­pus cal­lo­sum. Coroners can ac­tu­ally iden­tify mu­si­cians sim­ply by ex­am­in­ing their brains.

Moods and Modal­i­ties

There are hun­dreds of mu­si­cal gen­res, but they all be­gin with a ba­sic frame­work of notes, bet­ter known as a scale. His­tor­i­cally, dif­fer­ent cul­tures used dif­fer­ent scales. The five-note, or pen­ta­tonic scale pre­dom­i­nated in Asia, while Western mu­sic em­ployed a seven-tone di­a­tonic scale which is ar­ranged into ma­jor and mi­nor modal­i­ties. Scales that in­volve mi­cro­tones and semitones also ex­ist, and are of­ten used in Mid­dle East­ern mu­sic. (This can in­volve a sub­stan­tial amount of vo­cal or­na­men­ta­tion — slid­ing up and down the scale, ac­tu­ally singing in be­tween the notes.)

See if you can match the mu­si­cal style with its coun­try: Sh my 1) An orig­i­nal Amer­i­can mu­si­cal form Jazz 2) Clas­si­cal In­dian sub­con­ti­nent mu­sic Raga 3) Clas­si­cal Bud­dhist chant in Ja­pan An­swers:

A –3: Sh my orig­i­nated in In­dia, moved to China, and be­came an in­de­pen­dent clas­si­cal chant­ing tra­di­tion with Ja­panese Bud­dhist monks. Chant­ing is com­mon in many be­lief sys­tems, rang­ing from He­brew chants and Hindu mantras to Gre­go­rian chant.

B –1: Called the back­bone of Amer­i­can mu­sic, jazz has huge ap­peal world­wide. So when Qatar Air­ways was look­ing for a quin­tes­sen­tial Amer­i­can mu­sic pro­gram to sup­port, they se­lected Jazz at Lin­coln Center. It’s a so­phis­ti­cated, vis­i­ble NewYork venue – and the per­fect place to en­joy leg­endary per­for­mance artists or at­tend Swing Univer­sity.

C –2: Raga is a San­skrit word which means “color”or “pas­sion.” A raga is ba­si­cally a melodic frame­work which supports a good bit of im­pro­vi­sa­tion. Spe­cific ra­gas in­voke cer­tain moods, or tra­di­tion­ally were as­so­ci­ated with sea­sons of the year or times of day. A raga can cre­ate a pow­er­ful at­mos­phere, and some an­cient ra­gas were used to in­voke rain or fire.

Re­spect the rest

What is one of the most dif­fi­cult things for a stu­dent to learn about mu­sic? Ac­cord­ing to Dawn Stevens, mas­ter fac­ulty mem­ber at The Wilm­ing­ton Mu­sic School and di­rec­tor of mu­sic at New­town Square Pres­by­te­rian Church, it is to re­spect the rest (a rest is an in­ter­val of si­lence in mu­sic).“There is some­thing beau­ti­ful about let­ting the si­lence speak within the piece.You want to al­low that sound be­tween the notes to be as loved as the mu­sic it­self.”

In case your knowl­edge of rests is rusty, th­ese sym­bols cor­re­late to the length of each pause.

Yes, there is such a thing as a hemisemidemi­qua­ver rest. Of course, for each rest, there is a com­pa­ra­ble note of the same length. In a lively mood? Try this ver­sion of Rim­sky-Kor­sakov’s“Flight of the Bum­ble­bee:”

Or if you pre­fer to bring your blood pres­sure down, re­lax to some slow waves of sound like Beethoven’s Moon­light Sonata. Think soothing, calm, soft mu­sic.You are feel­ing sleepy… WIN A FREE BOOK! CON­TEST: What’s your Cul­tural IQ? True or False? The songs“Viper’s Drag,”“Honey­suckle Rose,”“A Hand­ful of Keys,”and“Ain’t Mis­be­havin’”were all writ­ten by one amaz­ing jazz/rag­time tal­ent dur­ing the early- to mid-1900s. True or False? That mu­si­cian was Louie Arm­strong.

E-mail an­swers to Ter­riMor­ri­son@kiss­bowor­shake­ A free copy of Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: The Best­selling Guide to Do­ing Busi­ness in More Than Sixty Coun­tries will be awarded to a cor­rect re­spon­dent, cour­tesy of F&W Me­dia.

July/Au­gust’s An­swer: True. Al­co­hol is pro­hib­ited for ob­ser­vant Mus­lims, for Sikhs, for Mor­mons, and typ­i­cally, for Bud­dhists.

Terri Mor­ri­son is a Speaker, Co-au­thor of 9 books, and is work­ing on her 10th. She is also Ed­i­tor of Kiss Bow or Shake Hands® Dig­i­tal - avail­able through McGraw-Hill. Ter­riMor­ri­son @kiss­bowor­shake­hands Twit­ter @Kis­sBowAuthor. Tel (610) 725-1040. BT

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