The Book of Air

We are all aware that music and « atmosphere » go together.  We might put on relaxing music for a quiet romantic dinner, but listen to something livelier while doing some physical work or exercise or when out socializing in larger groups.

Recent studies showing that listening to fast music while driving increases the rate of car accidents and the Mozart Effect claims to increase intelligence.

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Tempo and Rhythm and its combination has an immediate physical impact on our perceptions.

The rhythm of an object suggests more or less frequent movement to qualify the repetitive nature of the underlying beat, even though the tempo of a piece of music might be slow and relaxed. A high frequency of notes can suggest a degree of contained excitement.

Music tends to have a steady tempo to it, often measured in beats per minute. Most of the music based on simple observation is in the range of 50-200 beats per minute, the same as the extreme range of our heartbeats.

The music tempo of the piece of music roughly equates with the heartbeat associated with the corresponding state or emotions.

Ranging between 60-80 beats per minute is calm and relaxed

Between 80-100 is moderately alert and interested otherwise 100 upward are increasingly lively excited or agitated. 80-120 is a common tempo, since we crave some degree of excitement from our entertainment.

Since the heartbeat and the music tempo have a strong degree of suggestion, 120-160 is common in some energetic situations.

Music suggests movement as it moves in time; and unconsciously we keep associating ourselves with the music while talking, walking, running, dancing etc.

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Maya Angelou

Where words leave off, music begins.

A good melody (even if it doesn’t have words) often is one that we could hum, sing or whistle. Even if they are reasonably close together with a variety of nice harmonious intervals between them, rhythms similar to that of speech can be preferred as a melodies.

Generally a melody consists of a linear sequence of tones. The notes should have durations which are not too short and not too long, and should not be in an extreme range or shouldn’t have large awkward jumps between them.

Although instrumental musical can stretch those boundaries a little, melodies are very similar to sentences that our brains are designed to speak and listen to.

String instruments can be demonstrate the lowest notes of the harmonic series by playing the strongest harmonics of the strings which divide the length into fractions like halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, etc. These harmonics always present to varying degrees within all notes, and their proportions help to give sounds their unique color.