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    Sacred MUSIC Essay (1071 words)

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    One of the first ways in which prehistoric humans communicated was by sound. Sounds represented concepts including food and tools. Sounds assumed their meaning by convention?namely, by the use to which they were consistently put. Combining parts of sound allowed representation of more complex concepts and gradually led to the development of speech and eventually to spoken “natural” languages. How the brain interprets information (on the level of the neurons) The brain consists of billions of neurons. Once a stimulus is perceived by the senses, it sends the information to the brain or he nervous system.

    Such information passes through the neurons. Depending on the kind of information the brain receives, the neurons release chemical agents in the brain to stimulate neighboring neurons and thus produce a particular “experience” in the individual. Human behavior is highly affected by the stimuli it receives from the environment. Whether the perception of these stimuli is on the conscious or subconscious level, nevertheless, external behavior is often affected and patterned by what we see, hear, or touch. Studies on ergonomics reveal that certain types of music can affect behavior.

    For instance, upbeat music can increase the purchasing behavior of consumers. That is why upbeat sounds are often heard in malls. Slow melodic songs increase intimacy. That is why we hear violin strums in restaurants where most lovers dine. In addition, studies have shown that listening to classical music can cause the release of the neurotransmitter Serotonin in the brain. Serotonin produces a calming effect in the individual causing the person to feel at peace and free from emotional turmoil. A similar effect is most probably achieved when listening to Sacred Music.

    The holiness and sanctity of such a profound type of USIA can most likely stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that make the person feel like being lifted up into another realm – the realm of the Divine. Music as an experience (theories on aesthetics, specifically musical experience and interpretation) Music is an art. Emotion plays a crucial role both in the enjoyment of art and in establishing the value of art. Art and nature, as well as music appeal primarily to our emotions: they awaken within us feelings of sympathy, or emotional associations, which are both pleasant in themselves and also instructive.

    We are made familiar with emotional capabilities, and, through this imaginative exercise, our responses to the world become illuminated and refined. Thus, music is not only seen as an end in itself but it is a means too higher end. In a profound and significant sense that distinguishes art from all its false substitutes Understanding seems to be a prerequisite to the full experience of art, and this has suggested to many critics and philosophers that art is not so much an object of sensory experience as an instrument of knowledge.

    In particular, music seems to have the power both to represent reality and to express motion. Some thinkers would argue that it is through appreciating the properties of representation and expression that we recognize the meaning of art, specifically music. The most popular approach to this concept of understanding is through a theory of art as a form of symbolism. In other words, art symbolizes reality. Thus, pertaining to music, music symbolizes the reality it represents. For instance, a painting of the Eiffel Tower in a way represents the reality of this great structure, so does certain types of music.

    Sacred Music for example symbolizes the serenity and oiliness of God, as well as the soul’s longing for such a divine union. This is a description of the Eiffel Tower is but different than actually seeing its picture. Aside from symbolism is the concept of Expression. It is widely recognized that abstract (I. E. , nonrepresentational) art forms?music, abstract painting, architecture?may yet contain meaningful utterances, and most frequently philosophers and critics use terms such as expression in order to describe these elusive meanings.

    Music, in particular, is often said to be an expression of emotion and to gain much of its significance from that. Expression in such a case is unlike representation, according to many philosophers, in that it involves no descriptive component. An expression of grief does not describe grief but rather presents it, as it might be presented by a face or a gesture. Expression must be distinguished from evocation. To say that a piece of music expresses melancholy is not to say that it evokes (arouses) melancholy.

    To describe a piece of music as expressive of melancholy is to give a reason for listening to it; to describe it as arousing melancholy is to give a reason for avoiding it. Music that is utterly blank expresses nothing, but it may arouse melancholy. ) Expression, where it exists, is integral to the aesthetic character and merit of whatever possesses it. Nonetheless, it is not only content that is understood (or misunderstood) by the attentive recipient. There is also form, by which term we may denote all those features of a work of art that compose its unity and individuality as an object of sensory experience.

    Consider music. In most cases when a listener complains that he does not understand a work of music, he means, not that he has failed to grasp its expressive content, but that the work has failed to cohere for him as a single and satisfying object of experience. He may put the point (somewhat misleadingly) by saying that he has failed to grasp the language or logic of the composition he hears. What matters, however, is that the appreciation of music (as of the other arts) depends upon the perception of certain “unities” and upon feeling the inherent order and reasonableness in a sequence (in this case, a sequence of tones).

    It is this perception of order that is fundamental to understanding art. And with this reception, the individual is said to be affected by it cognitively, affectively and behaviorally. Theories of the value of art are of two kinds, which we may call extrinsic and intrinsic. The first regards art and the appreciation of art as means to some recognized moral good, while the second regards them as valuable not instrumentally but as ends in themselves. It is characteristic of extrinsic theories to locate the value of art in its effects on the person who appreciates it. Art is held to be a form of education, perhaps an education of the emotions.

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