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Bodily Responses to Music: Jazz and Genres Alike

Music’s link with culture is apparent throughout history. Music plays a role in every civilization known to man and appears to be one of the basic actions of persons.

Evident in the lives of figures like Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson, it’s obvious that music has an influence on society. The human response to music, both good and bad, are proven to be observed in the emotional, spiritual, and physical states with instantaneous and long-term effects. A person’s perception and response can totally vary in different ways solely based on one’s experience with the music.

A person who is a trained artist of music can perform a selection with such an enthusiasm that the listener can feel enlighten by the music. While someone who is a beginner could play the same selection and would not understand the passion between the notes and merely play the keys. Thus causing the listener to experience the music in an entirely different manner; simply acknowledging whether or not the music was played well.

When looking at responses to music, rhythm is also a significant feature of the music to observe. There are two typical reactions to rhythm. Hard to separate due to the fact that they are associated and one response cannot occur without the other response. These reactions are, one; the actual hearing of the rhythm and, two; the physical response to the rhythm. Rhythm systematizes physical actions and is in every way abundantly related to the human body. For example, the body is comprised of rhythms in the heartbeat, while walking, during breathing, etc. Another noted example of how rhythm displays movement is how an autistic boy who could not tie his shoes was able to learn how on the second time around when a song about the task of tying his shoes was created. The rhythm aided him in organizing his physical movements.

Studies show that a person’s mood could be impacted by the style of music he or she listens to. A selection can uplift a funeral with up-beat tones; while a down-tempo could turn an atmosphere from chaos to calm.

Jazz was and still is any many ways a genre of music that can transform the aesthetics of a room. With subgenres like soul jazz, smooth jazz and cool jazz people could mellow their environment and create a mood that soothes the spirit and casts beautiful dreams. While free jazz, bebop, jazz funk or jazz fusion (which later branches to contemporary jazz) made the body want to move and created an up-beat tempo certainly suitable for dancing.

Following the baroque period, it was believed that classical music could cause the heart beat and pulse rate to relax as a result of the beat or rhythm of the music. As the body was able to relax and become alert, it was easier for the mind to concentrate.

On the hand, in jazz and associated melodic styles like contemporary jazz, the word swing is used to define the musical relations between the artists that created the sense of propulsive rhythmic “feel” or “groove”, principally when the music created an “instinctual response” common to feet-tapping or head-nodding.

Richard Brown is a jazz flautist that embodies the ability to either calm the mind or get you out of your seat. This flautist has a gift to take a rhythmic groove and make you feel it in your dreams. His debut album “Dreams” is an example of this gift; his free flute style will take you on ride across the spectrum of emotions.

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