High school music classes enhance the neural processing of speech

Should music be a priority in public education? One argument for teaching music in school is that private music instruction relates to enhanced language abilities and neural function. However, the directionality of this relationship is unclear and it is unknown whether school-based music training can produce these enhancements. Here we show that 2 years of group music classes in high school enhance the neural encoding of speech. To tease apart the relationships between music and neural function, we tested high school students participating in either music or fitness-based training. These groups were matched at the onset of training on neural timing, reading ability, and IQ. Auditory brainstem responses were collected to a synthesized speech sound presented in background noise. After 2 years of training, the neural responses of the music training group were earlier than at pre-training, while the neural timing of students in the fitness training group was unchanged. These results represent the strongest evidence to date that in-school music education can cause enhanced speech encoding. The neural benefits of musical training are, therefore, not limited to expensive private instruction early in childhood but can be elicited by cost-effective group instruction during adolescence.

Read

Advertisements
Image | Posted on by | Tagged

Music and movement share a dynamic structure that supports universal expressions of emotion

Music moves us. Its kinetic power is the foundation of human behaviors as diverse as dance, romance, lullabies, and the military march. Despite its significance, the music-movement relationship is poorly understood. We present an empirical method for testing whether music and movement share a common structure that affords equivalent and universal emotional expressions. Our method uses a computer program that can generate matching examples of music and movement from a single set of features: rate, jitter (regularity of rate), direction, step size, and dissonance/visual spikiness. We applied our method in two experiments, one in the United States and another in an isolated tribal village in Cambodia. These experiments revealed three things: (i) each emotion was represented by a unique combination of features, (ii) each combination expressed the same emotion in both music and movement, and (iii) this common structure between music and movement was evident within and across cultures.

Read

Image | Posted on by | Tagged

Music and emotion—a composer’s perspective

This article takes an experiential and anecdotal look at the daily lives and work of film composers as creators of music. It endeavors to work backward from what practitioners of the art and craft of music do instinctively or unconsciously and try to shine a light on it as a conscious process. It examines the role of the film composer in his task to convey an often complex set of emotions, and communicate with an immediacy and universality that often sit outside of common language. Through the experiences of the author, as well as interviews with composer colleagues, this explores both concrete and abstract ways in which music can bring meaning and magic to words and images, and as an underscore to our daily lives.

Read

Image | Posted on by | Tagged

The Painting by Monet That Gave Impressionism Its Name

Monet gets his place in the art timeline because of his leading role in the impressionist art movement, and through the enduring appeal of his artistic style. Looking at this painting, done early in his career, it may not seem one of Monet’s best paintings, but the big deal about it is that it was the painting that gave impressionism its name.

Monet exhibited the painting he titled Impression: Sunrise in what we now call the First Impressionist Exhibition, in Paris. Monet and a group of about 30 other artists, frustrated by restrictions and politics of the official annual art salon, had decided to hold their own independent exhibition, an unusual thing to do at the time. They called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Engravers, etc (Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs, etc.) and included artists who are now world famous such as Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Morisot, and Cézanne. The exhibition was held from 15 April to 15 May 1874 in the former studio of the photographer Nadar (Félix Tournachon) at 35 Boulevard des Capucines, a fashionable address1.

Read

Read also: Art History Basics: Impressionism

Image | Posted on by | Tagged ,

Music Forms and Styles of the Baroque Period

In 1573, a group of musicians and intellectuals came together to discuss various subjects, especially the desire to revive Greek drama. This group of individuals is known as the Florentine Camerata. They wanted lines to be sung instead of simply being spoken. From this came the opera which existed in Italy around 1600. The composer Claduio Monteverdi was an important contributor, specifically his opera Orfeo; the first opera to gain public acclaim.

At first, the opera was only for the upper class or aristocrats but soon even the general public patronized it. Venice became the center of musical activity; in 1637, a public opera house was built there. Different singing styles were developed for the opera such as

Read

Image | Posted on by | Tagged ,

Edgar Degas: His Life and Work

Edgar Degas was one of the most important artists and painters of the 19th century, and an important figure in the Impressionist Movement despite the fact that he rejected the label. Contentious and argumentative, Degas was a difficult man to like personally and believed strongly that artists could not—and should not—have personal relationships in order to preserve their objective view of their subjects. Famous for his paintings of dancers, Degas worked in a variety of modes and materials, including sculpture, and remains one of the most influential painters of recent history.

Read

Image | Posted on by | Tagged

What is Art and why do we need it?

Art exists in various forms and giving a concrete definition of it can be quite challenging. Some people refer to it as any creative work of a human being. Others refer to it as a way an artist will express himself/herself. Therefore there just so many different definitions of art so that we can’t categorically come up with a one. Of course there are various fields of art which include; music, film, theatre, and pop culture.

Art means a lot of things to different people and the way one person understands art may be quite different from what another person understands it. Here are some five reasons why we humans may need art:

Read

Image | Posted on by | Tagged