Welcome back! I hope that you’ve had a chance to listen to Episode 16 | The Science of Trance.
Today, I wanted to connect with you through the written word on how electronic music could benefit your life. Electronic music is so diverse in terms of genre’s that their diversity is about as vast as the animal kingdom. Here are the genre’s listed on just Wikipedia alone–I’m sure there are others outside of this list.
Pretty extensive, right? There is one thing for certain: there are this many genre’s of electronic music because this type of music does something to people. Have you ever been to a club or a festival or really anywhere that promotes music, and you just start to feel that vibe? Before you know it, your foot is tapping, your head is bobbing, and you are slowly feeling the music take over? The music is building and building and building to the point where you bust out in full on rave moves? It happens to me all the time, and there is a reason for it: SCIENCE! Trance, EDM, House, etc. whatever name you choose to call your rave-alicious music, the BPMs (beats per minute) and the Hz (hertz) embedded in the music have a physical effect on you. So really, when you feel the need to go wild and get lost in the moment at the club, it’s because your body said to–and the body knows best right?
WHAT IS IT?
For those of you who have no idea what I am speaking of, let’s break it down for a moment shall we (ha, pun intended). First off, what is a trance? A trance is “a hypnotic state where a person experiences enhanced consciousness.” So therefore, what is it in music? “It is a combination of many styles of dance music, but what sets trance apart is the high rate of BPM (beats per minute) that typically range from the mid 120s up to the 160s. Trance music features a significant amount of synthesized sounds, similar to house and electro music styles, but trance synths tend to be melodic and progressive while the beat remains static. The presence of vocals in trance is what’s known as the vocal trance genre. A typical trance music song has mixed layers with some form of build-up and release. There is typically a strong climax in the middle of the song and then a breakdown of other beats and percussions so the melody is able to stand alone until the rhythm builds up again. The songs are also generally quite long in length, which makes them common for use by DJs.”
Phew! I’m glad we got that out of the way!
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
Let’s look at this from two different perspectives, shall we? If we’re talking about the electronic music that has been around for the last 30-40ish years, then allegedly trance music originated during the early 1990s in Germany. Some people insist that it was derived by Klaus Schulze, a music artist from Germany who liked to mix minimalist-sounding music with repetitive rhythms as was evident with his 1988 album “En=Trance”. Others say that Sven Väth was the true pioneer of trance music, as his labels released trance music. Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima also made significant releases in the electronic music industry, especially with the soundtracks they developed for the Streets of Rage video games and the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series. But really, two tracks put it on the map…the two tracks generally considered to have launched trance music into the mainstream are “Age of Love” by Age of Love and Dance 2 Trance’s “We Came In Peace.
Now, let’s look at trance music from a historical perspective, because it’s roots are much older than the 1990s. “Shamanic rituals involving each of these have been with us for millennia. They are among the oldest and most widespread forms of healing known to humanity, cutting across cultures and spreading to the four corners of the Earth. This universality suggests a biological basis for achieving a trance state. But for all the history of shamanism, for all its significance to the human experience, we actually know very little about the neural underpinnings of altered consciousness in the trance state. The aboriginal people of Australia believe in “songlines,” which manifest reality and everything in it, and some native Americans believe that life was brought about and sustained by the ‘song of the creator.’ The chanted mantras and ragas of the Hindu traditions, the psalms of David in the Bible, yoga’s seed syllable “om,” and the hymns of modern gospel churches are all examples of tools that are universally used to bring spiritual practitioners to higher states of consciousness. For thousands of years, Buddhist meditators have known the effects of an activated default mode network as ‘mind wandering,’ and the tools to transcend it are built into the meditation system. By using gently repeated intentions, noting of thoughts as they arise, and a general increase in mental power, Buddhist meditation allows us to transcend the random and negative imaginings about past and future.”
WHY SHOULD THIS BE IMPORTANT TO ME?
“Preliminary studies have shown that music listening and performing modulate levels of serotonin, epinepherine, dopamine, oxytocin, and prolactin. Music can reliably induce feelings of pleasure, and indeed, people consistently rank music as among the top ten things in their lives that bring pleasure, above money, food and art. Though the high you experience from listening to a song you like is only a fraction of what you feel after taking an illicit substance, the hedonic reward systems that are activated in this listening process are tightly linked to those associated with eating food, taking drugs and having sex. It’s well known for being the brain’s ‘reward’ drug of choice for encouraging actions that are good for reproduction and survival.”
“Music is not only therapy for the weak and weary, but it can also heal those with mood disorders and learning or developmental disabilities such as autism, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and more. Take for example: SAVANT. No one knows that better than long time music maker and EDM producer Savant who has Asperger’s disease and has succeeded in creating more music in more genres than most people complete in a lifetime. Producing changed Savant’s life, altered his mind, and admittedly fulfills his soul, allowing him to fully express himself in a way most people with Asperger’s and other similar diseases never imagined possible. Not only does Savant’s music making skills aid him in managing his life, it gives him an outlet for his insane talent and genius.”
“Music is a FORM OF MEDITATION! Music is a reliable source of transformational experience for many, and we are attracted to music for the same reasons that meditators meditate. Music and meditation both allow a fuller and richer experience of our emotions: They stop our incessant and often negative mental chatter and offer us an opportunity to inhabit the present moment more fully and meaningfully. One of the reasons we love music so much is that we can forget our troubles and just be. Immersed in sound and devoid of the usual angst of life, we perceive our world from a hyper-present flow state. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as ‘the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.’ One of the markers of flow is ‘transient hypofrontality,’ which is a state where our sense of self temporarily deactivates and the parts of the brain that generate feelings like anxiety and self-doubt are subdued. In this state, the activity becomes entirely rewarding in and of itself without regard for outcome.”
SIGN ME UP!
You mean to tell me that I can experience all of these benefits by listening to some music with some mad beats? The answer is: yes! I want to offer you a challenge. Take some time to research a night club that fits your vibe. Go and visit the night club and truly take in the music. Release all of your inhibitions and take chances. If you’ve never danced in public, make this the first time you dance! If you’ve never allowed yourself to feel close to a group of strangers because of a common thread, give yourself permission to feel that closeness. If you take this challenge, let me know how your experiences goes. I’m truly interested to learn how you felt after letting yourself go.
Again, if you haven’t had a chance to check out Episode 16 | The Science of Trance I think you will enjoy the episode.