By Rakshita Jaiswal

Every individual has a remarkably divergent taste in their brain palates when it comes to sounds and music. The varieties of formation of sounds that go together in a specific pattern to form a music are endless. Astoundingly, humans have evolved their quality and ability to produce sounds that they call music over the ancient times enormously. So what exactly is music? Have you ever heard a specific pattern of sounds that made your mind feel emotions of any sort? Well that is something you’d want to consider as “music”. Although music could have an extensive range of various definitions around the globe in every era since the existence of human civilization, one of the definitions that I’d like to believe in is that music is the art of science that consolidates one or more specific forms of sound that derives from nature and its physical, chemical or biological components in varying rhythm, melody or harmony. According to some research, the swaras in Indian classical music, also known as “notes”- Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni are claimed to be similar to the sounds produced by certain animals like peacock, cow, goat, heron, cuckoo, horse and elephant respectively. Music along with a vast diversity of compositions and types, however provides enormous amounts of benefits to the human body. Let us first try to understand how music affects our functional brain and its various parts.

According to researchers, the auditory cortex is where we get the first phases of listening to sounds and analysing tones, while the hippocampus is responsible for the music memory that includes all the musical experiences and contexts a person has overcome. Whereas the other two significant parts that we will consider here are- amygdala, which is responsible for a person’s emotional reaction to music, and motor cortex, which is responsible for movements. Our brain is designed to identify and respond to different kinds of music differently. According to one study “after hearing a short piece of music, participants were more likely to interpret a neutral expression as happy or sad, to match the tone of the music they heard”. Another notable effect that music has over our brain is the two types of emotions generated through music- perceived and felt. This portrays that we can actually understand the music that we don’t feel, it also explains why certain people like listening to sad music rather than finding them stressful, negative or depressing. While we can also listen to music in real life that does not seem to pose a threat or harm to us in real, which could make us perceive the emotions related to them without actually feeling them.

Indian classical music has also been tested to have health benefits for growing kids, physically or intellectually impaired individuals, speech and hearing impaired individuals, women during their pregnancy, etc. Some studies show that children or young adults who have had three or more years of experience with musical instruments perform excellently comparatively, in auditory abilities and motor skills. They also were shown to perform better with vocabulary, reasoning and analytical skills. It has also been known to improve the concentration ability, release stress, help in boosting memory, help reduce depression and anxiety in individuals, improve response to pain, release dopamine and provide meditation benefits to women who practiced Indian classical music during pregnancy. Some other studies showed that Indian classical music could actually improve visual attention in stroke patients! As fascinating and captivating as it sounds, music rolls out prodigious amounts of opportunities in the field of neurology.

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