Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound and silence. It is performed with a vast range of instruments and with vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping.
The word music derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; “art of the Muses”). In its most general form, the activities describing music as an art form include the production of works of music (songs, tunes, symphonies, and so on), the criticism of music, the study of the history of music, and the aesthetic examination of music.
Historically, in 1000 CE Guido D’Arezzo made many improvements in music theory. He first improved and reworked standard notation to be more user-friendly by adding time signatures. Then he invented solfege. This is the vocal note scale: do, re, mi, fa, so, la ,ti, do. The rest follows are the stories of the evolution of music.
In furtherance, recent studies about the health benefits of music reveals that listening to one’s favourite music can instantly put you in a good mood. But scientists are now discovering that music can do more than just to lift ones’ spirits.
The beneficial effects of music have been known for thousands of years. Ancient philosophers from Plato to Confucius and the kings of Israel sang the praises of music and used it to help soothe stress.
Recent findings also disclosed, from the fresh research in Austria, they had found out that listening to music can help patients with chronic back pain. And a recent survey by Mind – the mental health charity – found that after counselling, patients found group therapy such as art and music therapy, the most useful.
A study reported by MNT, found that infants remained calmer for longer when they were played music rather than spoken to, even when speech involved baby talk.
Likewise, multiple studies link music study to academic achievement.
The practice of music therapy has now become a way to treat neurological conditions from Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s to anxiety and depression.
Now, advances in neuroscience and brain imaging are revealing what’s actually happening in the brain as patients listen to music or play instruments and why the therapy works. “It’s been substantiated only in the last year or two that music therapy can help restore the loss of expressive language in patients with aphasia” following brain injury from stroke, says Oliver Sacks, the noted neurologist and professor at Columbia University, who explored the link between music and the brain in his recent book Musicophilia. Beyond improving movement and speech, he says, music can trigger the release of mood-altering brain chemicals and once-lost memories and emotions.
Another study conducted in 2013 found that listening to music help reduce pain and anxiety for children at the UK’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. According to some researchers, music may help alleviate stress by lowering the body’s cortisol levels – the hormone released in response to stress. Simple stress reduction techniques such as facial massage or muscle release exercises can often enhance the music’s magic.
Music can have important effects on the cooperative spirits of those exposed to music.
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