Music’s unique power in the universe can be described in thousands of ways, depending upon the context. A musician will describe the technical elements and, maybe, the emotional effect of the music. A doctor will talk about the healing elements, even though not fully understood. However, music’s unique power to heal is a given. The unique power of music to recreate memory is well recognized, if not completely comprehended. Music is a powerful tool in treating the mentally challenged, the elderly and those afflicted with all kinds of dementia. But—-the truth in music with which I am dealing goes much deeper than this: it has to do with the human soul and the creation of the entire universe. Music’s unique power cannot be exclusively understood without realizing the deep connections at work in the entire universe and its creatures. Recent research has made it very clear that there is a direct connection between musical capabilities and linguistic capabilities. Humankind and the animal world—especially the bird-world share the mechanisms that facilitate language and song. The song-learning areas of the “bird-brain” and the human brain are congruent, and can be mapped.
Music swirls all around us—just like the graphic to the left.
MUSIC’S UNIQUE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE: IN NATURE
Ofer Tchernikovski, City College of New York, has done extensive research in the fields of language and speech development. He made a study of the zebra finch from Australia and how it learns to sing. The same brain waves and patterns of repetitive syllable sounds are evident in the finch as in the human child learning to speak. An interesting side-bar to his research was the discovery that songbirds often stutter just like human beings. The faulty synapse firing that causes a human being to stutter causes the same reaction in a bird. Bird songs electronically slowed down exhibit melody and rhythm just like song does to us. Music’s unique power is evident in Ofer’s work: it exploits the idea that music exists everywhere and in many strange and unexpected places. This is only one example of the imagination invoking the presence of music in the world around us. It needs to be nurtured and expanded upon. Remember to connect the dots.
MUSIC’S UNIQUE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE: IN SPACE
Space exploration is one of the most fascinating and reason-defying marks of our century. NASA has sent probes into space which have sent back recordings of sounds that have not been available to us in real time. What does this have to do with the idea of music’s unique power in the universe? It takes the willingness to stretch the imagination in order to open up a new world of beauty and knowing. Connect the dots and relate the knowledge of musical elements to other, stranger fields of knowledge. Ask the questions: What Is Music Really?
How many of you have ever thought of space music in any other way than the movie score for Star Wars? How about the innate music of the spheres? What about the music of the planets, or the stars, or the aurora borealis? One of the problems besetting this line of thinking is our human prejudicial concepts of music itself. Did it ever occur to you that zebra finch is making music or that the wood wren’s song is a precursor to the Beethoven Fifth? (See above) If that is a difficult concept, how much more difficult is it to think of the music made by the rings of the planet Saturn. One of my favorite orchestral instruments is the tympani. The electro-magnetic song of the Saturn rings, in my mind, is the tympani in the percussion section of the universal symphony orchestra!
MUSIC’S UNIQUE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE: IN THE HEART OF A CHILD
When a toddler is able to conduct with the heart and soul of a mature conductor, it signals a mysterious reality. It signals the innate existence of something deep within that cannot be readily explained. Watch this brief video and see if you can logically explain it. We are music.