An Introduction to my Writings About Music

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Music is such a vast subject that I hardly know where to start. I have written blogs on all sorts of subjects and topics but have hesitated to start writing about what is supposed to be my specialist subject.


I am fascinated by the websites and questionnaires where they ask you to specify or tick your favourite kinds of music. I always end up ticking a whole load of boxes and adding a few extra categories wherever space is left to do so. With the possibilities which have opened up to me of listening to an almost endless number of internet radio stations, I have begun to explore various genres and music from farflung regions of the earth (world music) which at one time I would never have contemplated listening to. I intend to explore the subject of internet radio in a later posting, my concern here is with listening to music in general.


As a performing artist and a teacher I have mainly been associated with Classical music throughout my career, but I occasionally dip my toes into jazz, middle of the road and even pop and classic rock music. However, when it comes to my listening habits, these are much more diverse. I have always enjoyed listening to classic rock music, specifically Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Bob Dylan, but more recently I have taken to listening to Folk, Persian, Indian, Klezmer and Latin music which at one time I would hardly have known existed! This has been most enriching and I believe it has opened my mind to looking at news ideas in the philosophical, religious and political aspects of my life as well as to absorb news concepts in scientific and technological development. Having said this, I do not profess to know much about the kinds of music I listen to, particularly Persian, klezmer and Indian music. However this lack of understanding doesn’t seem to impair my appreciation of these types of music.


I have read some recent papers where they claim that music is most effective when it coincides with the brain and body functioning processes such as breathing, alpha rhythms and the rate it takes us to process our thoughts. Another article I have seen claims that it is possible through MRI scanning to actually listen to the ‘music’ of the brain. They hope that by listening to ‘brain music’ in different people they will, for example, be able to understand the variation in brain patterns between schizophrenic and other people. Whilst these kinds of investigations are in the early stages, there is no doubt that listening to music can have a profound influence on our behaviour and mood patterns and is undoubtedly of high therapeutic value.


I recently undertook a questionnaire which addressed the question of which metal group I represented. I know these kinds of surveys are often rather whimsical, but imagine my complete surprise when the answer given at the end of the questions asked was Limp Biskit. The instructions given were for me to never darken the doors of the world of metal music ever again and to go back to listenening to my rap music. I happen to like listening to quite a number of metal bands, some heavier than others, but if there is one band I feel least inclined to listen to I would say it is Limp Biskit, and the genre I find the least appealing of any I have ever heard is rap music!


I wish you all great joy and happiness in your music listening, playing and exploration of the vast world of music.


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