Music And Body Relationship Cultural Studies Essay

How Different Types of Music Affect the Brain


There are many positive and negative effects that music affects the brain and each genre affects it differently, even though there is an overall reaction to any kind of music. They’re also used in many different ways to make you feel certain ways.

Carolynn Little


Music and Body Relationship

How Different Types of Music Affect the Brain

In Eminem’s ‘Sing for the Moment’, Eminem says, "They say music can alter moods and talk to you, Well can it load a gun up for you , and cock it too, Well if it can, then the next time you assault a dude, Just tell the judge it was my fault and I'll get sued". Eminem basically states that music can affect your mood, and some people actually take action because of the music they listen to. This is proof that music can influence the things that you do. Music can teach you a lot of things, but it’s all in how your brain processes what it hears. Just like there are different genres of music, there are different moods that that specific type of music can make you feel, such as country, rock, classical, hip-hop, pop, and jazz.

Music can help and hurt people in many ways. Wynne Parry from Scientific American said, "The appeal of music goes beyond pleasure; people are also drawn to sad and angry music" (2012). Music has been shown to improve health and memory. Many teens and college students use music to help them study so they can remember things for class. Music is used as a therapy measure because it distracts patients from what they’re going through at them time, it gives them a sense of control, and it causes endorphins to be released in the brain to counteract pain. Music helps reduce blood pressure by playing relaxing music every morning and evening. It can also help chronic headaches and migraines by reducing the intensity and frequency of their onsets. By listening to motivating music, it helps improve physical performance since it makes the activity seem more like recreational fun. There haven’t been many experiments testing everything to clarify music’s effects, but Antonia J (2007) stated "Although relatively little is known about music’s effects on the brain, there is a lot of research being conducted regarding this. I’m sure there will be a lot more information about this, even within the next year or two."

Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, and Reba McEntire are a few artists of country music. According to Garth Brooks, a country music artist, "True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt." Adrianes Pinantoan (2012) writes about an effect called the Kenny Rogers Effect, where it was played for nursing home residents stimulated their neurological pleasure centers and increased brain activity. Country music has also been linked to depression and suicide. Where country creates feelings of depression, rock music can create feelings of anger.

Rock music can be heard everywhere from artists alive and dead, like Elvis Presley, Green Day, Metallica, The Beatles, and Nirvana. Presley once stated "Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can't help but move to it. That's what happens to me. I can't help it." According to the Journal of Undergraduate Psychological Research (2008), studies show that listening to rock music while studying is more of a distraction to the pupil. Because rock music has an unnatural rhythm it’s addicting and it’s as if the body cannot determine what is harmful and what is beneficial. It can also make you more jittery and animated as well. Rock music is also linked to a person feeling angrier and more prone to violence, like in Drowning Pool’s ‘Bodies’. "Let the bodies hit the floor, Skin against skin blood and bone, You're all by yourself but you're not alone, You wanted in now you're here, Driven by hate consumed by fear." A person’s ability to recognize images is faster, just like with classical music.

Classical music was written by many composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Haydn. Classical music has been around for centuries and still has the same effect that it did when it was first created. Jamie Foxx, an actor and R&B singer, once said "A lot of people may not know how competitive it is to play classical music, because when you think about it, the music that you're playing is music that's been here for years. And all you're trying to do is improve upon it when you play." Laura O’Donnell (1999) writes that classical from the baroque period can cause the heart to calm down exponentially and increases the ability to learn things easily. It has also been studied for increasing the healing time from strokes. It reduces tension and relaxes the body. Classical music increases the brain’s cognitive skills. Even though it’s been proven to help learn and calm the body, it’s also proven that listening to any music preferable to the individual can do the same thing, such as hip-hop.

Hip-hop music has varying effects on people. Sometimes it can be like rock music and create feelings of anger and violence. "However, a lot people state that rap music makes them feel more relaxed. Others feel more energetic and happy because a lot of rap music promotes dancing and movement," states Abbygail Reid in The Wave (2012). It also can stimulate brain waves, bring sharper concentration, and more alert thinking. Hip-hop music is also influential on people’s decisions because it directly talks about things without the sugar coating that most music has these days. President Barack Obama agrees, saying, "The thing about hip-hop today is it's smart, it's insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable." It makes the brain more alert and awake, as opposed to classical music. Hip-hop gives you energy and makes you want to get up and move, not unlike pop music.

Pop music is usually upbeat, but just like rock music it can make you feel more jittery than energized.. Because some pop music is upbeat it can improve a person’s mood, creating a happy feeling, but the other slower pop music can make an individual sad or lonely. Just like hip-hop, it has the ability to sway a person’s actions. Paul Epworth, a British music producer, said, "Pop music has greater power to change people and to affect people because it's a universal language. You don't have to understand music to understand the power of a pop song." Pop music has also been proven to speed up stroke recovery time, where verbal memory and attention span improved significantly, just like jazz.

Jazz music is more affectionately remembered with artists such as Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Earl Hines, and Ella Fitzgerald. Lauran Neergaard from The China Post reported that jazz musicians showed "heightened sensory awareness" and that the areas of the brain involving touch, sight, and hearing "revved up even though no one touched or saw anything different, and the only new sounds were the ones they created" (2008). Since jazz music is soulful and smooth, it makes one want to chill out and relax, instead of being energized. Jelly Roll Morton, a ragtime and jazz pianist, said, "Jazz music is to be played sweet, soft, plenty rhythm."

Musical artists understand more than anyone that their music can affect their fans. Many musicians and singers will write about certain things because their music speaks to people. Some artists use their music to make people feel happy or sad, angry or calm, and in some instances to feel sexual attraction. Some use their music to talk about their life or real problems going on in the world. Lupe Fiasco’s song "Words I Never Said" talks about how the country has taken some things that are completely unimportant and makes it seems like it’s more important than real world issues and how the government says one thing, but does something else, but no one ever calls them out on it because the government won’t let them. "And a bunch of other cover ups, Your child’s future was the first to go with budget cuts, If you think that hurts then, wait here comes the uppercut, The school was garbage in the first place, that's on the up and up." Singers aren’t the only ones that understand about using music like this, though.

Even music directors for movies and television shows understand the importance of using music to evoke emotions from the viewers. In horror and thriller movies, they use suspenseful and creepy music to make moviegoers feel terrified about what is happening on the screen even when they know what they’re watching isn’t real. Like Nightmare on Elm Street using the theme song that they have. "One, two, Freddy's coming for you...Three, four, better lock your door...Five, six, grab your crucifix...Seven, eight, gonna stay up late...Nine, ten, never sleep again. In action movies, music that’s really upbeat is used to make it seem like a lot is going on. Musicals and dance movies like the Step Up movies use energetic hip-hop beats to create the feeling of high energy and good moods. Even romance movies use music to evoke happy feelings of being in love in them, while comedies use light and airy music to make people feel happy and joyous. The Hangover using the song about tigers, ‘Stu’s Song’, is a good example of that. "What do tigers dream of, when they take a little tiger snooze? Do they dream of mauling zebras, or Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit?" So even movies and television shows use music to sway people into watching and enjoying them.

Music is used in many ways to achieve a certain goal and there are many ways that music affects you, whether its happy, sad, or angry. It helps your health in many ways and even improves your memory and intelligence. The different genres have different effects on everyone. Everyone has a genre that they’re particular to. In example, one person may like rock music and it makes them happy, then they hate hip-hop so it makes them mad; while another person loves country and it makes them happy, but they hate pop music and it makes them sad. Each person is going to feel different depending on genre, song, artist, and even the period that the music came out, so it would not affect everyone the same. The next time you hear music playing, think about how it makes you feel and remember that feeling.