Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Is music somehow inherent to the body? Is it something we all intuitively "understand" on some level, something which shapes us at the same time as we shape and create it? Can musical fluency arise even in those for whom hearing is not natural - in other words, in deaf people like me? I've been considering these questions a lot lately. In that light, and especially considering that I've just discovered the novelty of exercising while listening to music, I found this New York Times article interesting:

For me, the most thought-provoking part of this piece is in the last sentence: "Our bodies are made to be moved by music and to move to it." Before the CI, I would have scoffed at such a concept - I moved just fine without music, thanks very much. But now, I've seen the strange innate responses that I can have to musical elements. Rhythm, beat, tempo: these are things I already understand. They are things not limited to music or to sound, things I find in nature, in physiology, in conversation and the give and take of ideas, even in the flow of an excellent piece of writing. Now, I can find them in a song. and consequently match them with my own body. Are our physical selves indeed wired to seek out rhythm, to synchronize with the ebb and flow of the world around us? If so, hearing is just another way of processing that innate rhythm, and music is some sort of outpouring of an element (emotional or otherwise) that already resides within us. Recognizable as an externalization of our vital functions, such as a heartbeat.

All right, I'll stop philosophizing... But still, it's intriguing.

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