Coming of the Light - Musical Composition
Item Name: Coming of the Light - Song
Creator: Craig Leggo & Andrew Wheeler
Keywords: audio, music, editing, sound, singing, guitar, music effects
Albert Einstein so infuriated his university lecturers with his lack of co-operation and "normal" approach to science that they refused to write him the needed letters of recommendation in order to secure a good job. They insisted that there were two realms on earth, that of energy and that of matter. Alby, as he was know to his friends, wasn't so sure.
He was 26 years old in 1905, and was working as a patent clerk when he first proposed his formula of E=MC2. In short, he postulated that everything was energy, including such things as solid rock, trees and your toaster. If everything is indeed energy which Albert so helpfully set straight, then surely everything is because of energy? For example, if a song is composed of energy, then that energy must have a quality. Is it possible that the quality of energy contained within the words, music and vocals of a song could have an affect on the listener?
Music is a man made phenomenon which has as it's primary cause of being the specific intent to arouse a response in the listener. It is this intent that is in question. If the music has been written, created and performed by a demented lunatic intent on destroying the universe wtih "frickin' lasers", can the music be truly experienced free of this energy and intent?
We have incorporated music into practically every aspect of our modern lives. Some listen whilst they work at a desk, others whilst they make love and yet more do so whilst drinking alcohol until they are completely unaware of their ability to sing along with it. Many studies suggest that music affects the mood and therefore the behaviour to such a large extent that people are statistically more likely to engage in violent behaviour, sleep with someone they usually would not choose to sleep with and take risks that, in a more harmonious state would never consider.
If it is possible for music to affect behaviour in a negative way, is it also possible to create music that brings us closer to who we really are?
This audio file demonstrates a potential usage for Audacity or Adobe Audition, from the Creative Suite 5.5. It was created using 2 audio files that were multi-tracked and mixed together to produce a song. The music was composed by Andrew Wheeler, formerly of The Brunswicks, who also played guitar on the track. The track was edited, mixed and sung by Craig Leggo.
The purpose of the project was to explore and become familiar with the software programs and what can be accomplished using the Audacity and Adobe Audition programs. This was my first attempt at using these programs for the purposes of music production and editing.
The project incorporates the following content:
1. Guitar - recorded using Apple Logic Studio
2. Vocals - recorded using Microsoft LifeChat 3000, normaised, bass boost, vocal enhancer, studio reverb
Cover Art - "The Dendera Lightbulb" - beneath the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, Egypt, there are inscriptions depicting a bulb-like object which some have suggested is reminiscent of a "Crookes tube" (an early lightbulb). Coming of the Light font is called 'Nothing You Could Do'.
This composition has been created with the intent that it will not impose any emotional reaction on the listener. Whether this has been achieved or not is for you to discern. This may sound like the complete opposite of the conventional way of approaching the discipline, however if the above is true, in that music imposes an altered state of energetic awareness on the listener, then this revelation brings with it a responsibility that the music be lovingly created with an integrity from inception.
The world presents an onslaught of marketing, social, political, religious, educational, cultural and other imposts that cloud our ability to simply feel our true and natural states. Many people feel the need to escape or avoid this through taking vacations or attending retreats to "re-group". The delivery of this song seeks to allow the listener to simply be with themselves whilst they listen. It is not intended to elevate the nervous system, to motivate, arouse, depress or inspire the listener. During recording, the performers intent was to remain as centred as possible so as to allow the listeners to come to the music "as they are" at the very least, and at best to deepen their connection to themselves.
RESEARCH ON THE EFFECTS OF MUSIC
In 1957, Sears conducted research that proved that sedative music actually decreases a person's muscular fitness training ability. Conversely, high beat per minute music increases it. Moreover, stimulating music increases resting muscle tension whilst sedative music decreases muscle tension.
In a 1986 study conducted by Maslar, music was conclusively isolated as a major factor in contributing to pain and discomfort such as stress, tension, and anxiety.
Christenson & Roberts found in 1998 that for most young people, music use is driven primarily by the motivation to control mood and enhance emotional states.
Nexus Magazine refers to experiments in which groups of mice were trained to run mazes in a 1997 study. The subjects of the study were mice, that were tasked with running a simple maze. They were place in groups that listened to classical music, hard rock, or no music. The classical mice became more proficient and faster in completing the maze, however the hard rock mice became three times slower. The study was cut short due to unfortunate events within the hard rock group. They killed each other. None of the classical group mice did this.
Researcher Masaru Emoto has done some telling work in studying the effects of music on water. In the studies, water and water crystals were subjected to different sounds. Pure water naturally looks like uniform and delicately formed crystal, a pattern similar to a snow flake. Polluted water looks nothing like this. Normal looking water turned to the intricate crystal pattern when subjected to loving thoughts or when some types of classical music was aired. When negative thoughts or hard rock music were used, it was reduced to a shapeless globule. See Video Appendix 1.
It's clear that music has some effect on how we feel. Given the above research, it may be that the studies have been exaggerated or it may be that it has more of an effect than we can possible realise with our current understanding of quantum physics and the effect of energy on the human body. The success or failure of this composition's ability to pose no imposition on the listener then rest with the listener themselves. The final assessment rests with their ability to discern both the energy the sound was written, performed and mixed in and their own energetic state during their exposure to it.
Christenson, P.G. & Roberts, D.F. (1998). It’s not only rock & roll: Popular music in the lives of adolescents. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Maslar, P. M. (1986). The effect of music on the reduction of pain: A review of the literature. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 13, 215-219.
Sears, W. W. (1957). The effect of music on muscle tonus. In E. G. Gaston (Ed.), Music Therapy (pp. 199-205). Lawrence, KS: Allen Press.
www.lynda.com - Digital Audio Principles
Other potential study topics:
As a project, this has become a little more than simply recording some guitar and vocals. It has inspired fundamental questions about what we know to be true about how humans interact with sound. Given this, there are many more questions yet to be answered. It would be valuable to conduct a study of whether a personal preference or love of a particular genre of music determines whether the results of listening are considered "good" or "bad". Or is there a more universal truth about how types of music affect us in general.
There exist many stereotypes about music. Country music is sad. Classic music is relaxing. Rock music is motivating. Trance music is numbing and many more. Is this really the case? Would it be possible to gather a group of small children and ask them to simply listen to various genres and describe them as happy, sad, funny, exciting or otherwise?
Does listening to heavy metal and scream music lead to violence and disassociation? Why is it that young people tend to gravitate to a certain style of music? If the music played in nightclubs was taken from 120 beats per minute to 100 beats per minute - would there be an effect on the alcohol consumption or bar takings for the evening?
Do listeners of classical music experience less cardio-vascular health problems? Does it lower the incidence of heart attack or stroke? Do children perform better when listening to music in the classroom? Surely in light of the above research, this topic deserves more attention, given how pervasive music is in our society?
Questions and Answers: (see attached PDF assessment)
Appendix 1 - Video of Dr Masaru Emoto study of water molecules.