Human development and the fascinating power of music

music

The World is Sound – Nada Brahma

Music is a innate capacity of humans. It is the most fundamental means for our expression, especially when we use our voice, and it has the power to influence our whole being.

Music develops alongside humans

Along with our social-psychological development, music too has developed over the centuries. It is a real pleasure to meet the young composer Samuel Andreyev in this interview with Jordan Peterson where they explore together the power of music and the development it has taken up to the present. Even for non-musicians this conversation is quite understandable – and a musician also gains a expanded perspective.

This happened certainly with me. I was very delighted with the analysis and could confirm from my own experience what these two intelligent and open minds were talking about.

Jordan Peterson in conversation with the composer Samuel Andreyev

 

My experience as a musician

I am a classically trained singer and my main interest has always been classical music. I always enjoyed the music, from the middle ages to the early 20th century – but there it stopped for me. My experience of singing in a professional choir taught me how difficult it is to study pieces by 12-tone composers like Webern, Schönberg or those of the sixties like Penderecki and others. Those concerts had a certain fascination as sound experiences – but is it really worth all this huge amount of preparation? I always decided NO for myself – maybe only because of my lack of an absolute ear (perfect pitch) – which would have made singing these pieces so much easier?

How we learn to hear and expand our perception

One thing I noticed though – and it was addressed also by Samuel Andreyev in the interview above: The more you study a piece, whatever music it is, the more you get familiar with it and it becomes “your” music. This is the point where your interpretation of the piece will come from inside you rather than just a repetition of the ideas of someone else. When we really understand the music and own it by continuous practice, it becomes familiar and we begin to really enjoy it – which often was not the case when we encountered it the first time.

What sounds GOOD to our ears?

This is the reason for a continuous expansion of our ability to hear and accept newness in music. The acceptance of what sounds “good” has developed from total harmony (octaves), to fifths and up to all the harmonic intervals. Today it is almost unimaginable that once a third had been considered a dissonance! Our perception of what we hear as consonance or dissonance has developed until today when we can enjoy whole clusters of adjacent sounds. This is just a harmony of a higher level – as all these notes appear, sooner or later, on the scale of the harmonics of the basic note.

Personal development and enjoyment of music 

In short: I realized that, today, my ear has developed so far as to accept music which I had dismissed totally 30 years ago. That doesn’t mean that all music is “good” which is offered today. Good music has a certain felt attraction. Maybe not at first hearing. “Hear it 10 times and then find out what you feel about it!” This is also the recommendation by the composer Samuel Andreyev.

When you listen to his music – especially after having watched his conversation with Jordan Peterson – you probably will find it very attractive, or at least interesting and well worth listening to!

Enjoy

 

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