Who doesn’t love music? But do you really know if you have the musical sense? People often enjoy music without being particularly gifted, able to play an instrument, or comfortable singing in public. There is a lot more to the musical sense than music appreciation. On our path to understand ourselves a little better in regard to “the other senses” – I wonder if you’ve even had the opportunity to find out if you actually have the musical sense.
To get a basic idea of what this is, I would recommend going here to play a little bit. It is a fairly short way to see if you can figure out what the music sense is without giving a dissertation.
So now you should understand what is meant by pitch, timbre, time signature, and chords. Even if you have never played an instrument or learned some of the basics, the ability to sense music is actually a sense in the same way that smelling is a sense. Some people are able to get a better “feel” of it. Some people can’t smell much at all, but they can appreciate that it provides enjoyment for others. Some people can’t really hear tone or feel the natural connection to music that others do. Some people have the sense a little and can improve through decided effort and education (like developing a wider taste palette or experiencing new exposure to visual textures).
In fact, here’s a good question – can you tell when music ends in a funny way? Can you tell if it sounds “unfinished.” Being able to hear the ending of a song is a good clue about your musical sense. If a song ends in a way that “feels” unfinished – it isn’t what we call resolved. People either need to fix the resolution to fix the problem in the song, or this unresolved nature could mean something. It could be a little note to the listener about the meaning of the song, the purpose of the song, or provide emphasis on the final phrase of the song. This is kind of like Shakespeare, actually, in how he would use iambic pentameter. He would keep the rhythm for a while and then mess up the rhythm when he was giving important information, or suggesting something of the emotion in its delivery. The rapper Eminem does the same thing! But, if you like Shakespeare, is it because of the meaning of the words? Or, do you like him because of the genius way he works the rhythm? This second reason is most assuredly due to your own musicality.
How does this play into our yoga practice? The concept of music with yoga is a point of disagreement in some ways. With many old-school purists, there would be no music during yoga, besides chanting. For some, chanting (a different sort of rhythmic talking that can often boarder singing. Some chants are made into songs, or even raps. ) should even be done after asana (poses) rather than being played during asana practice. In other groups, particularly here in the US, many people prefer to have music and/or chanting during class. I have found punk yoga, heavy metal yoga, jazz yoga, and rap yoga. Most gyms will have calm music playing for yoga music.
Why music in the West? I find a beauty in the silent class and in the class with music. For a serious practitioner, I would recommend really working with both to find your own relationship to how sound affects you and why you would be using music. Like medicine, music in yoga asana could actually be abused, or create obstacles for the practitioner. I believe that many people in the West have difficulty self-regulating when it comes to their emotions. Music is a really great tool for calming and helping one to calm the mind, if used properly. It can be used as a crutch, though, by some people. If you feel you really need music to practice yoga or “get to a deep space” in your practice, it is a good indicator that you may be using music to self-regulate rather than learning to do so on your own.
The possibility of using music as a mood booster is heightened if you are empathic in nature (intuitive), musically inclined (have the music sense strongly), or tend to be swayed more by outside influences rather than by those which are internal. This is actually backed up by scientific research. So, I am hereby encouraging you to look into the nature of your own music sense.
See how strongly your music influences you, or how much your own mood influences your music choices.
Here are some cool ways to explore the music sense in your own life:
1. Take this test to help with research into musicality. The BBC Scientists are studying the music sense, and will tell you how you did. It takes about 25 minutes to finish. Be sure you have sound on your computer to take it. It is necessary. Let me know your results if you’d like! I am curious.
2. Play guess the type of music with your friends. Everyone plays something of theirs that is really different. If you don’t have friends to play with, play on Youtube and look into the music of other countries. See if you can find at least three (3) songs you like that you cannot understand the words to. (Post links in my comments! )
3. If you are intuitive or musically inclined, create a mood palette for yourself. Take a list of the emotions, such as this one, and try to make a playlist of songs for each mood. This could fill hours. Be sure to refrain from limiting the type of music you use, and reach out to friends or others online to fill in any blanks or areas lacking.
4. Try doing yoga to a different type of music than you normally would. See what the effects are. Do you feel different emotions? Do you have more difficulty or ease in certain asanas?
Yoga Pose of the Day: Sun Salutation (really work with the rhythm of the pose)
Yogic Concept of the Day: I can use today to see how various types of music may influence me, especially in my yoga practice.