By Cindy Drukier
Amira Willighagen, the 9-year-old Dutch girl who astounded first the judges, and then the world with her opera singing during her first appearance on “Holland’s Got Talent” has done it again. She was the runaway winner at the Dec. 22 semi-finals with her soul-stirring rendition of Ave Maria.
Many have likened her to the pure voice of American-born, Greek opera legend Maria Callas, whom at least some seem think she may have been in a past life.
Next week the opera prodigy will sing three songs in the finals.
This song wins 2013 “Best Song for Indie/Documentary Film” at Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
By Kate Rinsema
Want to hear something magical?
Experimental director and playwright, Robert Wilson, caught a hauntingly beautiful piece of music one night, a recording of crickets.
That part is common enough, but then he stretched out the sound as much as one would have to stretch the life of a cricket to equal that of a human, and the result is truly wonderful.
And here is a perhaps truer version:
This girl can really sing. A voice from the heaven. So mature… for her age.
Tags: chinese characters, Chinese culture
Conveying the special significance of music,
literally ‘the sound of happiness’
The Chinese characters 音樂 (yīn yuè) stand for music. 音 is the character for sound, while 樂 refers to music itself as well as the concepts of happiness, pleasure, and enjoyment. The two characters combined literally mean “the sound of happiness.”
The ancient Chinese regarded music as a tool to contact the gods, and music was not only for enjoyment and entertainment but also part of sacred ceremony to reunite humankind with Heaven.
In addition, music is the ancestor of medicine and its primary purpose in ancient China was to heal illness. The character for medicine, 藥 (yào), is derived from the character for music.
藥 comprises two parts: 樂 at the bottom and the radical 艹 at the top, which refers to grass, herbs, and other grass-related plants. Following discovery of the healing effects of herbs, 艹 and 樂 were combined to form 藥.
Tags: Body & Mind, funny things, Music, Science
Four days after Derek Amato hit his head on the bottom of a swimming pool, he sat down at a piano and found that he could play it beautifully.
Amato discovered his talent in October 2006 when he was 40 years old. He dove into a pool one day and hit his head, and when he came out of the water, he couldn’t hear anything and felt as though his ears were bleeding.
Amato had a severe concussion that caused some hearing and memory loss. He recovered fairly quickly, and four days later he sat down at a piano for no reason that he could think of and started playing.
“As I shut my eyes, I found these black and white structures moving from left to right, which in fact would represent in my mind a fluid and continuous stream of musical notation,” Amato explained in an article on the Wisconsin Medical Society’s website.
From then on Amato was able to play the piano effortlessly, as though he’d been playing it his whole life. He played music from memory and composed his own music, stunning his family, his friends, and himself.
Amato’s rare talent was diagnosed as savant syndrome, and his ability to see shapes and colors when hearing music is known as synesthesia.
“We commonly refer to Derek as ‘Rainman Beethoven,’” his friend Gerry Gomez stated in the article.
“To date we have not found another medically documented case where immediate or sudden musical savant syndrome had been acquired from a brain injury,” Gomez added.
Amato wrote in the article that he told his mother, “I guess God decided to give me my birthday present a bit early this year.”
In 2007, the Association of Independent Artists made Amato the Independent Artist of the Year. He composes music, travels, and performs, supporting charity events for traumatic brain
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If the summer has been fine or not, we up here in the North often associate that with whether or not it has been a warm and sunny one. Unfortunately, this year many of us here in Sweden are thinking that this year’s Swedish summer has really not given us what we longed so much for, and now it has started to fade away to be replaced by the autumn.
Autumn has in fact been sensed already, occasionally with high clear air and wind even if it was only the beginning of August. But then it turned thankfully, and this year’s summer gave at last a longer period of time with heat and sun and I got my salty baths in the sea :-)
I was also listening to a wonderful concert in the castle of Tjolöholm, where parts of Kungsbacka Piano Trio performed. I think this is really music at high level. It was a fantastic evening in a castle and in Beethoven’s spirit.
Here you can listen to a beautiful piece from the concert, but not by Kungsbacka Piano Trio with guest cellist.
Isn’t beautiful :-)
Tags: classical music, Music
Nocturne by Frederic Chopin, opus 27, number 2, accompanied by an animated graphic showing interval type….
Tags: Culture, Music, picture of the day, pop music
Artist: Andrew Talbot (Lancashire – England, born 1972) Paintings.
Music by the Swedish singer and songwriter:
Sophie Zelmani – This Room
Tags: Music, pop music
Tags: Bach, classical music, Music
Tags: Music, pop music
Tags: Body & Mind, Chinese culture, health, Music
Chinese music is based on the ancient Chinese pentatonic, five-tone musical system. The five tones are classified as: Kung, Shang, Chiao, Chih and Yue.
According to the Chinese theory of the Five Elements, related to Chinese music, the tones are connected to a myriad of cosmological concepts, as well as the inner workings of man.
Chinese do not see it as coincidence that human beings have five internal organs: heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and spleen; and five sensory organs: mouth, nose, eyes, ears and tongue; and five fingers on each hand.
According to Chinese tradition, any of these five tones can affect a human being’s internal organs and might act as a regulatory mechanism. Music can increase metabolism, open thought processes, and regulate the heart. Because everyone’s makeup is different, one person’s internal organs are different to the next person’s, and the music touches people in different ways.
According to the five basic tones, one can detect different influences in the human body. For instance, Kung-based melodies are classified as noble, Earth-related, and affect the spleen. Often listening to such music makes one tolerant and kind.
Tags: Body & Mind, classical music, Culture, Science
Apart from entertainment, could there be more to Mozart’s music? Scientists around the world have claimed that his music makes people more intelligent and improves health. Even cows and plants like it. Now, a German company says you should play Mozart’s music to sewage! Let’s take a look at various studies and research into the so-called Mozart effect.
The term “Mozart effect” was coined in 1995 by scientists at the University of California who found that students scored better on spatial IQ tests after listening to Mozart’s music. The scientists also tried trance music, minimalist music, audio-books, and relaxation instructions, none of which worked.
Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and Katherine Ky from the Center of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory wrote in their paper, published in Neuroscience Letters, that “thirty-six undergraduates listened to 10 [minutes] of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos, K. 448, and scored 8 to 9 points higher on the spatial IQ subtest of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale than after they listened to taped relaxation instructions or silence. This facilitation lasted only 10–15 minutes.”
The five-day study, which tested 79 students, also noted a “dramatic increase from day 1 to day 2 of 62% for the Mozart group versus 14% for the Silence group and 11% for the Mixed group [the group that listened to other types of music and recordings].” The study concluded that “perhaps the cortex’s response to music is the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for the ‘code’ or internal language of higher brain function.”
As reported in a 2007 article by Spanish media El Mundo, cows on a farm in Villanueva del Pardillo, Spain, produce 30 to 35 liters (about eight to nine gallons) of milk per day, compared to only 28 liters for other farms. According to owner Hans-Pieter Sieber, this is thanks to Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp in D, which his 700 Friesian cows listen to at milking time. He also claims the milk has a sweeter taste.
Monks in Brittany, France, are said to be the first to have discovered cows’ liking for Mozart, according to ABC news. Now, farmers from Israel to England play classical music to their cows.
Health of Premature Babies
In January 2010, the journal Pediatrics published a study by Israeli scientists showing that Mozart helped premature babies gain weight faster. Researchers played 30 minutes of Mozart to 20 preterm infants at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center on two consecutive days and compared their weight gains to another group who listened to no music.
The doctors noted that babies listening to the music were calmer, thus reducing resting energy expenditure (or REE).
“Exposure to Mozart music significantly lowers REE in healthy preterm infants. We speculate that this effect of music on REE might explain, in part, the improved weight gain that results from this ‘Mozart effect,’” the researchers concluded in their paper.
In 2010, a sewage treatment plant near Berlin, Germany, trialed a Mozart sound system made by German company Mundus. Music from “The Enchanted Flute” was played to biomass-eating microbes. Initially, the plant almost canceled the experiment after a few months. But after a year, when it was time to clean the sludge, the plant found that it only had to transport 6,000 cubic meters (about 212 cubic ft.) away, instead of the usual 7,000 cubic meters.
Detlef Dalichow, a specialist in wastewater management, told the newspaper Märkische Allgemeine, “We have significantly less sludge to transport away.”
The company saved an estimated 10,000 euros on the cost of transporting sludge. Mundus says its speakers strive to accurately replicate the sound of a concert hall.
Plants have been made to listen to all sorts of music since the 1970s. Some music they loved, and other music made them die. Mozart’s music, however, has been a favorite.
One of the first experiments with plants and music took place in 1973 when undergraduate Dorothy Retallack used the Colorado Woman’s College Biotronic Control Chambers to subject plants to two different radio stations. In one chamber, plants had to listen to rock music for three hours a day. In the other chamber, the radio was tuned to easy listening for three hours a day.
The plants subject to easy listening grew healthily, and their stems started to bend toward the radio. The plants listening to rock, however, had small leaves and leaned away from the radio. They grew tall and gangly, and most of them died in 16 days.
Retallack went on to experiment with a variety of styles of music. The plants leaned away from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix but seemed to appreciate Bach organ music and jazz. Their favorite, she found, was North Indian classical music played on the sitar. They showed complete indifference to country music.
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Tags: classical music, Music, Science
String enthusiasts rejoice: In the near future you might be able to have your very own fungus violin, an instrument with a million-dollar sound but that will certainly not cost you a million.
While “fungus violin” might not roll off the tongue like “Stradivarius,” a sound test conducted in 2009 among an audience of experts found that the sound quality of a violin made from wood treated with a certain fungus rivaled, if not surpassed, that of one forged in the hands of the legendary Italian master Antonio Stradivarius.
The technology was developed by Francis Schwarze, scientist at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA), with the help of Swiss violin maker Michael Rhonheimer.
Schwarze treated wood with the white-rot fungus Physisporinus vitreus, which destroys specific structures in spruce wood, resulting in a substrate with superior tone quality.
Before musicians can get their hands on these “biotech violins,” however, researchers first have to standardize a process to fungally treat wood on an industrial scale.
The project has support. “Using modern science to explain the technical details of the material properties is something I find enormously interesting,” said Walter Fischli, co-founder of the biomedical company Actelion and hobby violinist, in a press release.
Fischli’s foundation is funding EMPA’s “mushroom violin” project. “In my opinion it would have been unforgivable to allow such an interesting project – one that so ideally links science and the art of violin making – to wither for lack of funding,” he said.
With the new support, a team of interdisciplinary specialists will gather data on the acoustic properties of various types of wood and develop methods to measure fungal activity over the next three years.
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