Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Perpetual Enchantment of Nature's Music

No one tires with the rhythm of nature – the tides, waves, flowing rivulets, gusts of wind, bird songs, the fiddling of crickets, the shrill of cicada. In the recesses of a happy mind, one could hear the earth waking up in spring, laughing in summer, yawning in autumn and snoring in winter – and waking up again the next season, and so on ad infinitum.         
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Filipino Composers Nicanor Abelardo (Mutya ng Pasig); Antonio Molina (Hating Gabi)
Mozart and Beethoven are known for their compositions heavily influenced by Nature
There is more enchantment in ethnic music than in modern music.  
Each kind of music has its own quality, but music being a universal language, definitely has commonalities. For example, the indigenous lullaby, quite often an impromptu, has a basic pattern with that of Brahms’s Lullaby and Lucio San Pedro’s Ugoy ng Duyan (Sweet Sound of the Cradle). The range of notes, beat, tone, expression - the naturalness of a mother half-singing, half-talking to her baby, all these create a wholesome effect that binds maternal relationship, brings peace and comfort, care and love.
Serenades from different parts the world have a common touch. Compare Tosselli’s Serenade with that of our Antonio Molina’s Hating Gabi (Midnight) and you will find similarities in pattern and structure, exuding the effect that enhances the mood of lovers.  This quality is more appreciated in listening to the Kundiman (Kung Hindi Man, which means, If It Can’t Be). Kundiman is a trademark of classical Filipino composers, the greatest of them, Nicanor Abelardo.  His famous compositions are 
·         Bituin Marikit (Beautiful Star)
·         Nasaan Ka Irog (Where are You My Love)
·         Mutya ng Pasig (Muse of the River Pasig)     
·         Pakiusap (I beg to Say)

War drums on the other hand, build passion, heighten courage, and prepare the mind and body to face the challenge. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte taught only the beat of forward, and never that of retreat, to the legendary Drummer Boy.


Lucrecia Kasilag, foremost Filipino ethno-musicologist

Classical music is patterned after natural music.

The greatest composers are nature lovers – Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and our own Abelardo, Molina, Santiago, and San Pedro.  Beethoven, the greatest naturalist among the world’s composers was always passionately fond of nature, spending many long holidays in the country.  Always with a notebook in his pocket, he scribbled down ideas, melodies or anything he observed. It was this love of the countryside that inspired him to write his famous Pastoral Symphony.  If you listen to it carefully, you can hear the singing of birds, a tumbling waterfall and gamboling lambs. Even if you are casually listening you cannot miss the magnificent thunderstorm when it comes in the fourth movement. 

Lately the medical world took notice of Mozart music and found out that the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart music can enhance brain power. In a test conducted, a student who listened to the Sonata in D major for Two Pianos performed better in spatial reason.  Mozart music was also found to reduce the frequency of seizure among coma patients, improved the interaction of autistic children, and is a great help to people who are suffering of Alzheimer’s disease.   The proponents of Mozart’s music call this therapeutic power Mozart Effect.
What really is this special effect? 

A closer look at it shows similar therapeutic effect with many sounds like the noise of the surf breaking on the shore, rustling of leaves in the breeze, syncopated movement of a pendulum, cantabile of hammock, and even in the silence of a cumulus cloud building in the sky. It is the same way Mozart repeated his melodies, turning upside down and inside out which the brain loves such a pattern, often repeated regularly every 20 to 20 seconds. 
Lucio San Pedro (composer of Ugoy ng Duyan, an indigenous lullaby) 
This is about the same length of time as brain-wave patterns and those that govern regular bodily functions such as breathing and walking. It is this frequency of patterns in Mozart music that moderates irregular patterns of epilepsy patients, tension-building hormones, and unpleasant thoughts.

No one tires with the rhythm of nature – the tides, waves, flowing rivulets, gusts of wind, bird songs, the fiddling of crickets, and the shrill of cicada. In the recesses of a happy mind, one could hear the earth waking up in spring, laughing in summer, yawning in autumn and snoring in winter – and waking up again the next year, and so on ad infinitum.         

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