Date of Award

5-19-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Thomas Denney

Second Reader

Denise Evert

Abstract

Music as a force, affects us from within us and can arouse us emotionally and physically. Music has been an important element in our culture since the beginning of time. Its power has been documented back to primitive times and has continued through early civilization, biblical times and now, to the twenty-first century. Recently, an emphasis on the music of Mozart has prompted researchers to look more closely at the power of music and examine its effect on human learning. Also, ongoing research is done on exactly how we hear and how we react to this powerful force.

Energy becomes vibration, and vibration produces sound waves. These waves travel through the air and enter our ears. In the process of organizing these waves, tones and overtones into music, composers use a varied collection of musical tools which mold the raw materials of sound into the beauty of music. The elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics and tempo combine to comprise a musical tapestry for the ear.

The human ear is an intricate collection of delicate organelles that all work in concert in order for us to perceive and process sounds traveling through the air. Sounds become nerve impulses that travel via the cranial nerves and are processed in distinct sections of the brain. Several sections of the brain have to collaborate for music to be properly understood. Several of these areas are also associated with speech and memory.

As music stimulates sections of the brain, neurotransmitters are released in response. These chemicals flood our brain causing an emotional reaction; an effect. They cause us to respond emotionally to what we hear. We may experience happiness, sadness, nostalgia or excitement. These strong feelings affect our immune systems, our psyche and our overall wellbeing. Music is a strong motivator and pervades all aspects of our lives. The impact influences all races, cultures and religions

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