Science of Music vs. Martin Amis

During a moment spent not freaking out about Facebook removing my civil e-liberties, or analyzing the weird dreams I had last night about ordering an Americano coffee in NYC, I read a compelling book review in the Economist. The last paragraph struck me:

“[The] basic message is encouraging and uplifting: people know much more about music than they think. They start picking up the rules from the day they are born, perhaps even before, by hearing it all around them. Very young children can tell if a tune or harmony is not quite right. One of the joys of listening to music is a general familiarity with the way it is put together: to know roughly what to expect, then to see in what particular ways your expectations will be met or exceeded. Most adults can differentiate between kinds of music even if they have had no training.

Music is completely sui generis. It should not tell a non-musical story; the listener will decode it for himself. Many, perhaps most, people have experienced a sudden rush of emotion on hearing a particular piece of music; a thrill or chill, a sense of excitement or exhilaration, a feeling of being swept away by it. They may even be moved to tears, without being able to tell why. Musical analysts have tried hard to find out how this happens, but with little success. Perhaps some mysteries are best preserved.”

The book is The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can’t Do Without It by Philip Ball. And while I probably will never read it, this abstract does offer some interesting thoughts, like: Why does music even exist? Why does it make us feel? Maybe if I read the book some of these questions would be answered. But I so rarely read analog media (Economist excluded).

AND their review of the new Martin Amis book was pretty intriguing…for a Martin Amis fan. His best since Money? Come on.

Thrisis Thesis

There are some days, like this morning, when I wake up with a lot of things on my mind. I don’t want to reduce it all to simply being “stressed.” It’s more being overly conscious about the things that are going on around me. Sometimes I wake up and want to delete this blog: “Have I said too much? I must be alienating so many people…am I alienating people? Or offending them?” Because that is not what I want to do. I just want to engage casual discussion, as if I were having a beer at the bar, or a coffee at the cafe with a friend.

I worry a lot about pissing off other band I talk about. I try to imagine how I feel when I read stuff about The Dears is other people’s blog and in reviews. I guess I just hope that any readers realise the freedom of expression and discourse a blog allows. I mean I’ve seen some LiveJournal stuff that is really like the full-on personal diary of a twelve year old…and what’s worse? That embarrassed feeling of stumbling into a tween’s detailed, deep emotional problems or bumping into the Fleet Foxes backstage at some festival? It makes me think about deleting this blog altogether.

Anyway, that’s what I think about when I wake up in the morning. Fatalistic pillow talk. So that’s why I like to read the news when I get up: it gets my mind back into the real world. Point being, this morning I found this bit, listed as the number 2 most read story on the BBC:

‘Yeti Hair’ to get DNA Analysis

…and that really made my day.