5 Popular Music Myths to Say Goodbye to

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Myth 1. There are only seven notes.

Namely: do, re, mi, fa, salt, la and si. If you add a higher “to” to them, you get an octave. Therefore, it is often said that musicians have only seven notes to compose a melody. But everything is a little more complicated – it is no coincidence that the octave on the piano looks like this:

One octave for piano. The leftmost key is do, the rightmost key is si. Image: Lanttuloora/Wikimedia Commons

There are really seven white keys: these are just do, re, mi and other four notes. But there are five more black ones that sound a little different. For example, a key between C and D will produce a semitone above the first note, but below the second, and will be called C-sharp or D-flat.

In European musical theory, the octave is traditionally divided into 12 equal intervals, which are considered the most harmonious. This is the notes. There are also those sounds that are extracted by black keys on the piano.

Semitones were not included in the list of notes due to an oversight of medieval music theorists. As a classifier, the latter used the church hymn to John the Baptist, because each line of this composition was sung higher than the previous one. That’s how semitones were missed. And now the musicians are forced to suffer, dealing with sharps and flats.

The octave itself, by the way, can be divided as you like. This is how microtone melodies are created that do not fit into standard musical harmony.

Myth 2. Listening to classical music increases intelligence.

The “scientific basis” of this myth was laid by a 1993 study. During the experiment, American neuroscientists suggested that some students listen to a piece by Mozart, and then take part of the IQ test , which evaluates spatial thinking. The rest of the participants sat in silence before solving the problems or listened to the instruction on relaxation. Surprisingly, the “Mozart group” scored higher: the difference was equivalent to 8–9 IQ points.

However, do not rush to look for a collection of works by the Austrian classic – further research has shown that the “Mozart effect” is unlikely to help you become smarter .

It turned out that it works for a very short time. After 10 minutes, the difference in the results of people who listened to and did not listen to Mozart disappeared. Moreover, for a short “acceleration of the mind”, classical music is not at all necessary. Any sounds that a person likes are fine. For example, hits by the British rock band Blur or audiobooks by your favorite writer. Scientists suggest that pleasant melodies or voice recordings increase mood, which helps to cope better with intelligence tests.

So it’s not really about classical music . And if you consider that not everyone loves it, Mozart’s works definitely cannot be called a universal IQ booster.

Myth 3. Sad music makes you feel bad.

While this assumption seems logical, experiments show that sad melodies affect different people in different ways. At times, sad compositions set in a romantic mood, sometimes they help to relax, and sometimes they make people feel stronger.

The influence of melancholic music on mood may be related to the psychological state. A melancholy song, in which a healthy person will find solace, can cause discomfort in people with depression. They tend to overthink the same things over and over, and sad music makes them relive unpleasant memories and negative thoughts over and over again.

Myth 4. Musical ear can only be innate

Indeed, some people are born more musical than others. This is confirmed, for example, by a joint study by Finnish and American scientists. They conducted genome-wide scans of people with a good ear for music and found several common features in genes associated with capturing and processing sounds. So the abilities of musician parents can be inherited. However, genes are a fickle thing and talent may well be lost in the wilds of DNA.

A child with absolute pitch names any notes, intervals and chords played by the father

However, an ear for music can be developed by people without the necessary predisposition. It is not a fact, of course, that it will be absolute, but it will allow you to play music. True, for this you will have to not only work hard, but also behave accordingly – for example, communicate with the right people.

In general, it will not be possible to develop an ear for music only with amusia – the inability to remember the pitch of sounds.

There is a significant influence of culture and environment. For example, if a person has been constantly listening to music since childhood, or one of the brothers or sisters often plays the guitar, it will be easier to develop hearing. Even simple singing at matinees in kindergarten favors the improvement of abilities.

And playing musical instruments can change the very structure of the brain, namely, develop its plasticity . And first of all, the areas associated with hearing will be strengthened.

Myth 5. Playing a musical instrument is just fun

Unlike just listening to academic compositions, playing music can have a beneficial effect on mental abilities. It requires good coordination of movements, and wind instruments also develop breathing. To memorize a song, you have to train your memory, and to master musical notation – logic and a little bit of mathematics.

If a person is not a musician, it will not be easy for him to learn even a couple of chords on the guitar – you can’t keep track of your hands! What can we say about sight-reading skills, when you need to simultaneously look at an unknown musical text and play. This is how neural connections are formed in the brain – the same plasticity.

Research shows that this “brain training” improves memory and orientation in space and time. Moreover, music lessons have a beneficial effect on children’s ability to memorize unfamiliar words and general literacy .

Moreover , learning music is more effective than many other activities. So, in one experiment, researchers compared the performance of two groups of children. Some studied music in their free time, others studied military affairs. In both groups, the children became more creative and their memory improved, but the scores were higher in music, and teenagers developed faster.

Of course, this does not mean that if you put a loser at the piano, he will turn into an excellent student in six months. Music education is not a panacea. However, it will not be superfluous either. The main thing is that the child himself likes it .

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