“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
In William Shakespeare’s play ‘Twelfth Night’ Orsino uttered these lines after he was frustrated in his courtship of Countess Olivia. Perhaps Orsino believed that an excess of music might cure his obsession with love the way eating too much removes one's appetite for food. But he was wrong. An old adage says music is the food of soul. The more you listen to it, the more you crave for it.
Music has been defined as “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.” Music is perhaps as old as time because it is the way that humans found to demonstrate what happens inside their minds. A study of the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Sumer and Babylonia, shows that they had highly developed music culture, especially for religious rituals.
“A look at the Old Testament reveals how God's ancient people were devoted to the study and practice of music, which holds a unique place in the historical and prophetic books, as well as the Psalter," writes religion and music historian Herbert Lockyer, Jr.
According to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Music, “The music of religious rituals was first used by Prophet and King David, who used to sing hymns and psalms on lyre. If Biblical traditions are to be believed, Prophet David used to play harp and sing to calm and comfort King Saul, the first king of the United Kingdom of Israel, whenever the latter fell into a mood of despair.
Apart from its importance in religious rituals, music also plays an important and integral role in our everyday life. Scientific researches show that music helps the human brain develop much more fully and extensively, especially in our early years. The Mozart Effect – a set of research results – indicates that listening to classical Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music can make you smarter. It is also believed that early music training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. This is why nursery rhymes are strongly recommended to help infants learn much more quickly.
Popular Mexican-American musician Carlos Santana once said: “Music can change your molecular structure”. Clinical experiments have proved that music therapy may be used to encourage emotional expression, promote...