Friday, July 19, 2013

The Practice--Vitalize with Upbeat Music

Photo by Patricia Herlevi, Bellingham, WA
Since my previous post on relaxing with classical music has attracted attention, let's experiment with the opposite--that is let's add vitality to our step and energize our bodies.  Psycho-acoustic experts tell us to charge the nervous system with high-tones and to increase the beats per minute to above 80 beats per minute (not that I ever know how many beats per minute music is).  However, by increasing the tempo, we raise our heartbeat rate, and increase the overall tempo in our bodies, thus giving us more energy.

We don't want to get our adrenaline rushing or create fight or flight in our bodies since this isn't healthy.  So I'm not asking you to increase the volume of music, play booming bass and drums or blast yourself with screeching electric guitar.  But then I doubt any of you were planning on doing that since you already know what's healthy for you and what causes you tension and unease.

I'm going to give you five examples as a start-up point and I'll tell you why I think these particular songs energize.  These are just examples and I trust that you will find your own energizing songs based on your musical preferences and experiences.  People with a Kapha dosha (Ayurvedic medicine) who feel sluggish anytime of year, but especially late winter and early spring could use more upbeat and uptempo music to keep them on their feet.  Vata Doshas might find upbeat music draining after a while and Pitta Dosha could go on overdrive if it is already out of balance, unless there's some kind of workout involved such as dancing to the music.  But follow up with cooling and relaxing music to balance this dosha.

Let's start with bluegrass and bluegrass swing.  We're heading to Canada for the first example.

1.  The Bill Hilly Band (The Bills), Shostakoverture and Francis, All Day Every Day, Borealis Records

Upbeat with high end banjo, accordion and syncopated vocals--foot-tapping with a little twang  The melody swings.  Try standing still to this song--you can't.

Or

The Good Lovelies, Kiss Me in the Kitchen, Let the Rain Fall, Warner Group Canada

This song has a strong melody that swings, with a shuffling beat, upbeat and uptempo (moderate) and the lyrics are cheerful.

The next sample comes from Russia and I'm included it for fans of classical music.

2. Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3 movements 1 or 3

Just listen to this piece and you will see why it's on my energizing list.  (Note this music might be too rigorous for some listeners).   It's a complicated piece with a variety of timbre and themes competing with each other, moving from moderate to very quick tempos.   High end tones come from the piano, strings, woodwinds, horns, and percussion.

The tempo slows in the middle of the movement with romantic sweeping piano solos recalling Tchaikovsky's Late Romantic work.  However, the piece picks up speed and momentum and by the end's climax you'll need to catch your breath.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKJm3Wre1iU

The next examples comes from West Africa while providing us with poly phonic rhythms which is the main feature.  We're heading to Cape Verde and will be listening to the Portuguese vocalist Lura.  Music from Cape Verde has a sunny and bright quality to it (there are exceptions).  Here you have lilting guitar, poly phonic rhythms and husky vocals.

3. Lura, Vazulina

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS380tHh2GQ

Now we're heading to Finland where the country shares a border with Sweden.  Gjallarhorn combines tribal drums, didgeridoo, fiddle and mostly low-end sounds played at a quick tribal tempo. The high tones come from a flute (sounds Celtic) and Jenny Wilhelm's soprano vocals.  This song has rave and trance qualities.

4. Gjallarhorn, Bonfire, (also on the album Rimfaxe), independent release

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNk5Rqx7Gd4

5. Let's head over to Cuba where we listen to call and response vocals set over Afro-Latin poly rhythmic percussion, horns covering the high end.  This one has some Yoruba or rumba elements with some delicious horns.

Sierra Maestro, Sangre Negra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec92ku9v-oA

Disclaimer: My practices are only suggestions and not to be used as diagnoses or treatment.  Please see a medical professional for medical conditions.  Whole Music and Patricia Herlevi are not responsible for use of this material.  Anyone with a heart condition needs to consult with a medical doctor and music therapist before experimenting with uptempo music.

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