Behind The Musical Brain and Heart And All That Jazz

I find jazz to be an interesting style of music. It’s not something I have on constant drip, but I appreciate the structure or lack of structure when I’m listening to an improvisation. Jazz has great improvisational technique, the intricate rhythms and syncopation and all the dynamic chords entice me, keep my attention.

I always wondered what was going on behind the brain and body  as we are listening and what parts are firing as we create or hear an improvisational riff. Music is naturally a language which we use to articulate and express. But I think it goes far beyond the simple toe-tapping motor skills, new science is always on the forefront of these discoveries.

Recently it has been discovered (albeit already intuitively understood here at The Spire) that music is related to the heart and good vibes. There is better blood flow and circulation.  After self-observation and observing other musicians I would agree with their contension that they have the most pronounced reaction to music. I’ll highlight some of the interesting parts:

“Peter Sleight at the University of Oxford suggests this is due to their musical training; not only are they more in tune with music, they have also learned to breathe in rhythm to this music and their heart rates match their respiration.”

A study by Luciano Bernardi at the University of Pavia, featured in Scientific American, found that the heart rates of volunteers sped in response to musical crescendos, synchronizing with the music. Even if the listener disliked a song, her pulse changed to match the tempo of the music.

OK, so the vibes and beats tick our ticker.

I think it’s compelling that they found the memory and focus was increased and helps in certain diseases. It reminded me of this video and how it shows the fascinating power of vibrations. Vibrations are the key. I’m of the opinion that it ignites the parts of the brain that highlights emotional memory, which literally can light a fire beneath us, emotions are imprinted in to us and they hold greater weight and so we are apt to recall the better times.

On to another study conducted on jazz musicians, it lets us understand the parts of the brain that are at work while they improvise. It was all about syntax and language in the brain. And that page also linked us to cues that happened in the brain freestyle hip-hop artists started rapping and creating rhymes on the spot.

These are some of the conclusions that we have come across today. But I don’t think it’s just myself that finds them intuitively but people inherently know this. It’s no wonder most people have ear/headphones in their ears. They are affecting their heart and mind, probably with a little hit of dopamine too, if you know what I mean.

Now we must exit on a Fusion Jazzy Note and Get back to work!

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