Yes, a writeup is supposed to stand on its own (and hopefully this one will) but a node exists as its whole as well. It has been said above used to say, kind of snuck in at the end, that 'Not too many people derive deep meaning from mere instrumentals (basic emotions, sure, but rarely something as complicated or high-level as words express).' Having the 'Not too many people' tagged onto the front brings up the argument of whether the general populace has a good understanding of music or not, but it is not my intention to take this writeup in that direction. Rather, I want to elucidate the very real physical connection in the brain between language, melody, harmony and rhythm.

Coming from the ear, the first part of the brain that processes music is the brain stem. This is where the crudest processing is done as this part of the brain is usually associated with the primordial vestiges of say, locating prey or avoiding a predator. It helps to shape sounds and identify individual notes before passing the information onto the auditory cortex where more complex processing is achieved. Once here sounds are placed in context of what follows and precedes them. The right-brain cortex determines hierarchies of harmonic relations while the left forms the sequencing of sounds and the perception of rhythm. Here is where an intriguing overlapping of brain function occurs. The right cortex is particularly adept at analyzing the harmonic vowel sounds of language while the left is involved in the sequencing of words and ideas. In fact, the left side is considered the seat of language in the brain! In some experiments, prenatal exposure to music has produced an accelerated acquisition of language skills, such as babbling.

Indeed, music is a language all its own. It is a language that has the unique ability to conjure a complex emotional range that is comprised of but not limited to nostalgia, tension, tranquility, elation, depression and even fear. Studies show that music elicits a complex interaction with endorphins and neurotransmitters in the brain. The pleasing effect of melodies and harmonies are first mediated by personal as well as cultural preference. Individuals are greatly influenced by the tones found in their native language which in turn influences their native music. Some may also have a greater understanding or predilection towards music and tend to respond or interact on a deeper level with it than they ever could with the spoken or written word.

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