The Emotional Power of Music


Stevie Wonder sang, "Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand...." Music is like a language, all on its own, with or without words. Music has been described as "the language of the soul".

Music springs from the deepest emotions within the soul, and with or without lyrics, music conveys a message, deepest feelings and emotions. It is a world beyond our world. It is a reality, at the same time, a fantasy.

Of course, the musical experience goes beyond simply listening to it; as an exercise in creativity and as a social activity, music involves considerable emotional and cognitive investment, whether it be composing music or performing it. Despite its widespread presence and importance in many cultures, music's effects on the human mind are only just beginning to be understood.

The search for answers into music’s impact on the human mind has attracted scholars and researchers from a wide array of disciplines, including computer science, musicology, anthropology, and psychology. From its effects on depression and social attitudes, to research on its benefits in education, music psychology is an exciting exploration of the magic that is music, and its influence on the mystery that is the human mind.


Given the amazing ability of music to express the complex emotions of human beings, it is not surprising that music plays an important role in the creation and maintenance of social groups and subcultures. Throughout history, people with common goals, ideas and belief have bonded together, and the music of this subculture is an important rallying point for them, and often expresses their beliefs.

Examples are too numerous to mention, but the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s inspired many anthems of freedom that will be forever associated with it, such as "We Shall Overcome" and "Blowing in the Wind". The hippie movement of that same decade revivified interest in folk music, as young people harkened back to a more innocent time, and the intense grooves and loudness of rock 'n' roll music echoed a younger generation’s desire to be heard and seen.


Music's Effect on Emotions, Mood, Mood Disorders, Transmitting Ideas and Ideals



Research has shown that music has a very strong influence on moods and emotions. Music can certainly change our current emotional state, create different trains of thought, and even convey ideas to its listeners. This is true for people of all ages and walks of life.

Our moods are deeply affected by the type, intensity and amount of music we listen to. People with volatile temperaments often become calmer after listening to relaxing music. Conversely, more phlegmatic people can be energized by upbeat music. For example, pop music is used in exercise classes to maintain energy flow and interest. The motivational force of influence of music on mood cannot be overstated.

Music can also make us sad, or even depressed. Depending on the emotional state of the listener or composer, music can even be a negative influence. It is interesting to note that many famous composers showed an enormous range of emotions. The composer Ludwig Van Beethoven was known to pound the piano so passionately that he broke its strings! Genius personalities such as Beethoven often show intense emotional sensitivity, and one might speculate that this great emotional range is needed to compose great music.

The correlation between creativity and bipolar disorder (artists, musicians, and writers being more likely to have bipolar disorder) is a further illustration of the fascinating link between music and human emotions. The psychology of music is deeply emotional. We internalize what we listen to, allowing the emotions of the composer and the musicians to become our own, thus establishing a connection with the composer and performers.

Both the lyrics and the music itself are involved in this bonding process. The more we listen to a piece, the more we begin to internalize and identify with it.

As this process of listening to and identifying



http://www.winmentalhealth.com/music_psychology.php

Is the Composer of Adagio in G Minor Tomaso Albinoni or Remo Giazotto?


The Adagio in G Minor for Organ and Strings has been popularly attributed to Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751), a Venetian baroque composer who wrote at least 81 operas as well as many instrumental works.  Nine collections of his works were published during his lifetime, and his works were favorably compared to his contemporaries Vivaldi and Corelli.
This hauntingly beautiful piece of music has been in the soundtrack of at least 20 movies (including Dragonslayer, Rollerball, Flashdance and Gallipoli), many popular TV shows, and throughout the years has been rendered by at least 10 modern pop and rock groups.







Unfortunately, much of his music was lost during the bombing of Dresden in 1945. Since then many musicologists have had to reconstruct his lost music from fragments of it found in Dresden archives. 

Musicologist, music critic and composer Remo Giazotto was trying to systematically catalogue Albinoni's works, and asked the Saxon State Library of Dresden to send him the scraps of what was left of Albonini's “Trio Sonata”. 
From only the bassline found in the slow part of the trio and a few fragments of melody, Giazotto magically constructed the Adagio. He published it in 1958, attributing it to Albinoni. 

Later, in 1965, he claimed full credit for the work. Today there is still controversy on who to give credit to. I certainly think that Giazotto deserves at least partial credit, if not full, since he had so little to work with. Ironically, this is the piece that Albinoni is most famous for. 


Richard Gill on The Value of Music Education


Music educator Richard Gill argues the case for igniting the imagination through music and for making our own music. In this talk, he leads the TEDxSydney audience through some surprising illustrations of the relationship between music and our imagination.

Happy Birthday Joseph Haydn



Born on March 31, 1732 in Rohrau, Austria, Franz Joseph Haydn's father was a wheelwright, his mother a former cook. The second child of his parents, Haydn began to display musical talent early on in life, wanting to give him the training he needed, his parents agreed to let their cousin, a principal and choirmaster in Hainburg, take Haydn to the school at age six.

Haydn's experience in Hainburg was good for his musical abilities, but bad for his soul. The young boy was often left without much to eat during his time there, and was not given the same love he might have received from his parents.  When the musical director of a church in Vienna offered to take Haydn as a chorister at age eight, his parents accepted.

Haydn spent nine years at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, but when his voice changed, he was expelled from the school. Haydn began doing odd jobs to make money, and taught himself music theory, eventually he worked his way up to becoming the musical director for count Ferdinand Maximilian von Morzin. It was in this position that he composed his first symphony.


Haydn's wife Anna. Unauthenticated miniature attributed to Ludwig Guttenbrunn (Burgenländisches Landesmuseum)

In 1760 he married Maria Anna Aloisia Appolonia Keller, they never had children. A year later, Haydn became assistant music director for Esterhazy family, his kindness to the staff and good nature here earned him the title "Papa" by many of the musicians and later earned him the post of musical director.


A man plays a historic piano behind a bust of Austrian composer Joseph Haydn in the "Haydn house" in Vienna January 28, 2009. Haydn spent his last twelve years in this house in Vienna's sixth district, composing important late works including "Die Schoepfung" (The Creation) and "Die Vier Jahreszeiten" (The Seasons), where he died in 1809 at the age of 77.


  
The death mask of Austrian composer Joseph Haydn is displayed in the "Haydn house" in Vienna January 28, 2009.



The Composer and his Muse: J.S. Bach and Anna Magdalena Bach



Anna Magdalena Bach was the second wife of composer J.S. Bach, singer and chamber musician. She was born into a musical family. Little is known of her career as a vocalist but she certainly knew J.S. Bach professionally at Köthen, where he was Kapellmeister from 1717. They married in December 1721, a year and a half after the death of the composer's first wife and settled in Leipzig in 1723. The couple had 13 children, six of whom lived to adulthood, including future composers Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and Johann Christian Bach  (later known as "The London Bach").

Portrait of Bach and his children
Anna Magdalena Bach was an invaluable aide to J.S. Bach's duties as Kantor of Leipzig, copying and transcribing the reams of music he wrote for the city's five major churches; a number of his manuscripts exist only in her hand. J.S. Bach expressed his gratitude by dedicating several keyboard and chamber pieces to her, including the famous collection "The Little Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach" (two volumes, 1722 and 1725), and organized informal concerts at their home so she could have a performing outlet.



Anna Magdalena Bach: a forgotten genius?

Martin Jarvis, professor of music at Charles Darwin University in Australia, claims some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s best-loved works were actually written by his wife. He also discovered that the only complete manuscript from the time for the Cello Suites was a manuscript in the hand of Anna Magdalena, and that the original manuscript in the hand of Johann Sebastian had vanished.

Prof Jarvis claims that there is musical evidence to prove that the Cello Suites - whose exact date of composition has never been established - were not written by Bach.

 

Prof Jarvis believes that Anna Magdalena also had a hand in composing the aria from the Goldberg Variations, and said it was highly likely that she composed the first prelude of the Well-tempered Klavier Book I.

Stephen Rose, a lecturer in music at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: "It is plausible that she corrected, refined and revised many of his compositions, although there is not enough evidence to show that she single-handedly composed the Cello Suites."

When J.S. Bach died in 1750, J.S. Bach left no will and his modest estate was evenly split between Anna Magdalena Bach and the nine surviving children from both marriages. If the subsequent neglect of J.S. Bach's memory reflects scant credit on the Leipzig establishment, then the treatment of his widow reflects none at all.

In 1751, church officials evicted Anna from the Kantor's quarters she had called home for nearly 30 years, and she spent the rest of her life scraping by on charity. Why her able-bodied children did nothing to alleviate her poverty is not known. She died at 58 in an almshouse and was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave at Leipzig's Johanniskirche (St. John's Church), where her husband had been laid to rest a decade before.

The Johanniskirche
J.S. Bach's forgotten grave was discovered during renovation of the church in 1894, but Anna Magdalena's was not and is now irretrievably lost - the Johanniskirche was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. In the 1960's historians began to re-examine the role Anna played in J.S. Bach's life and art, and today there are revisionists who claim she was the actual composer of some of his late music.

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Celebrating Great Women Composers: Women's History Month


Marianna Martines (1744-1812) was born in Vienna into rarefied circumstances. The poet Pietro Metastasio lived with her family, and she had the opportunity to study keyboard with Joseph Hayden and composition with Nicola Porpora, both of whom lived in her apartment building. While still a child she began performing for the Imperial court as a singer and keyboard artist, and was soon known throughout Europe not only as a performer, but also as a classical composer. Her surviving works include masses, motets, oratorios, cantatas, concertos and one symphony.






Teresa Carreño (1853-1917)

This Venezuelan pianist, singer and composer performed for Abraham Lincoln at the White House in 1863 and at several of Henry Wood's promenade concerts. She composed at least 40 works for piano, two for voice and piano, two for choir and orchestra, and two pieces of chamber music. Her song 'Tendeur' was a hit in her time. Remarkably, a crater on Venus is named after her.









Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944)

Chaminade was composing from an early age, even playing some of her music to Georges Bizet when she was eight. She wrote mostly pieces for piano and salon songs, which were hugely popular in America. She composed a Konzertstück for piano, the ballet music to 'Callirhoé' and other orchestral works. The composer Ambroise Thomas once said of her, 'This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is a woman.'







Amy Beach (1867-1944)

America's first successful woman composer, Amy Beach was an accomplished pianist who agreed, after her marriage, to limit her piano performances to one charity recital a year. After her husband died, she toured Europe as a pianist, playing her own compositions to great acclaim. Her music is mainly in the Romantic style, although in her later works she experimented with more exotic harmonies and techniques. Her most famous works include the Mass in E-flat major and the Gaelic Symphony.



Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)

Louise Farrenc received piano lessons from masters such as Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Following her marriage, she interrupted her studies to play concerts with her husband, the flautist Aristide Farrenc. Despite her brilliance as a performer and composer, she was paid less than her male counterparts for nearly a decade. Only after the triumphant premiere of her Nonet for wind and strings - in which the violinist Joseph Joachim took part -did she demand and receive equal pay.






Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847)

Sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny composed more than 460 works, including a piano trio and several books of piano pieces and songs. A number of her works were originally published under Felix's name. Her piano works are often in the style of songs and carry the title, ‘Song without Words.’ This style of piece was successfully developed by Felix, though some assert that Fanny preceded him in the genre.

Women Firsts in Classical Music: Women's History Month

It used to be considered proper for a young woman in upper society to attain proficiency on a classical instrument, usually the piano, harp, classical guitar, or voice. Women were not trained as professionals, however, because it was considered immodest for a woman to perform in public. But eventually some women broke through convention and asserted themselves in the world of classical music.

One of the earliest women to perform professionally as a pianist was Maria Theresia Paradis (1759-1824).

Her father was a court official in Vienna. She went blind as a small child, although treatment by Dr. Anton Mesmer was improving her vision. The treatment was abandoned when it was decided that she would lose her disability pension if she recovered her sight.

She was performing regularly by age 16 and spent much of the next decade in touring Europe to great success. Her repertoire included 60 concertos, including works she commissioned from Salieri, Mozart and Haydn.



She gradually abandoned performing in favor of composition, writing five operas, three cantatas and numerous piano works. In later years she turned to teaching. She may be largely unknown today, but she certainly worked at a professional level comparable to male pianist-composers except for the few top geniuses, such as Mozart.

Historical speculation was that Mozart may have written his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major for Maria Theresia von Paradis.

Mozart could have sent the concerto to Paris, and it would have been forwarded to von Paradis in London, where it was possible that she performed the work in March 1785.







The first woman to break the bonds of convention and venture to play the violin in public was Mrs. Sarah Ottey.

Ottey played the violin in concerts as early as 1721, in England.’ Mrs. Sarah Ottey, was an accomplished musician, since she performed publicly upon the harpsichord and bass viol as well as upon the violin.




American Clara Baur was the first woman to found a conservatory, the University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music, in 1867.

Baur opened the first conservatory in Ohio on December 2, 1867 in rented rooms on West Seventh Street. She later moved to a building on the corner of Vine and Eighth Streets - a much bigger location in which Baur was able to offer room and board for out of town students. From here, her conservatory moved to the corner of Fourth and Lawrence, then to Oak Street, and is currently part of the University of Cincinnati and is known as CCM.




In 1936, Nadia Boulanger conducted a concert with the London Philharmonic, the first woman to do so.

In 1939 Nadia Boulanger was asked what it was like to be the first woman to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world première of Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks. She replied "Well, I have been a woman for 50 years now and have recovered from my initial astonishment."

 A French composer, conductor, and teacher who taught many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century as well as leading living composers and musicians.





Among her students were those who became leading composers, soloists, arrangers and conductors, including Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Quincy Jones, John Eliot Gardiner, Elliott Carter, Dinu Lipatti, Igor Markevitch, Virgil Thomson, David Diamond, İdil Biret, Daniel Barenboim, Philip Glass and Astor Piazzolla. She also performed as a pianist and organist.

As a long-standing friend of the family (and officially as chapel-master to the Prince of Monaco), Nadia Boulanger was asked to organize the music for the wedding of Prince Rainier of Monaco and the American actress, Grace Kelly, in 1956







Marin Alsop made history when she became the first female to conduct a major US symphony orchestra when appointed to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Six years later she made history again when she became the first ever woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms.