Monday, April 20, 2009

Music, the Brain and Ecstasy by: Robert Jourdain

In an effort to distract myself today, I sifted through some old books of mine to see what I might be interested in and low and behold! I found a diamond in the rough!Music, the Brain and Ecstasy is a scientific book about the mechanics of sound, specifically related to neurology. The first two sections of the book, which I just checked for accurate physiology, are about the way the brain hears and processes sound. The third section, which is the most useful for this essay on music as a ritual device, is entirely devoted to the way musical tones, melodies and harmonies make us feel. It describes emotional responses, including ecstasy and pleasure, and even describes the body's reactive response. All very cool. It has been quite a journey to find a credible source that doesn't use drumming as the only medium for induction of musical trance and describes the use of music to induce emotive responses. Haha, there is a whole chapter on the melody line from The Pink Panther. I have just begun to get into the meat of this book, but I will post any relevant thoughts as I make my way through it.