by Helen Victoria
We experience our lives immersed in music. Songs float from radios. Televisions sing out inescapable jingles. Coffee shops offer us the latest trending albums to bring into our consumer consciousness. Bars and clubs feed music through the veins of their venues and out through open doors for us to absorb as we pass.
But what of the music we experience in our relationships, both romantically and in our friendships ? What part do these notes and chords play in the chapters of our own stories?
Our personal histories carry a wealth of music memories for each of us - for better or worse. Perhaps there’s a song in your memory that takes you instantly back to a moment that changed your direction entirely. Maybe there’s an album you can’t play without skipping back ten years emotionally. It’s tempting to feel such songs belong to us somehow.
Then there's the ‘our song’s’; the defining records of partnerships, friendships, and all that fall between each of those lines. Ever tried to forget someone that hurt you, only for a song you once both loved to play on the radio? No matter how much time passes, our associative reactions to sound remain the same.
So how can music contribute to the development of the relationships we experience, both romantically and with friends and family? How and why can rhythmic sound contribute to closeness?
Here are the 5 reasons you need to know about;
To negate music’s potential for bonding is to miss out on the incredibly sensory experiences that it offers. Science supports theses of its powers. But our human experiences are every confirmation we’ll ever need of its capacity for bonding. Perhaps even for love.
For isn’t music just another form of love? Have a listen out for it, next time you pick up an instrument, switch on the radio or play The Sound Cypher. It could lead you to more than you might imagine.
By: Connor C Wright
The year was 1998, the club was smokey, the music was loud and the people were intoxicated with life! These were the years of carefree living before the selfie, mass consumption of social media and the last vestige of truly living in the moment! I remember these years vividly but don’t have much evidence to support just how truly great of a time they were! Well, aside from a few blurry pictures and the music that fueled this era.
Now that I’m in my 40s, I’ll admit I have a bad habit of listening to old music. Not classical old, but 1980-2000. It’s really easy to let your musical tastes calcify over the years. I guess listening to music from that era helps to relive a simpler more carefree time. Besides most of the new music I’ve heard as of late really doesn’t speak to me and In my defense, trying to find new music that’s worth listening to these days can be tough! You might catch the occasional new song while walking through a store, watching a movie, or maybe on a TV show. My best example is Saturday Night Live; that’s how I discovered The Killers! The trouble is, it’s convenient to just throw on the “oldies” station. The music is familiar, comforting and rarely brings unpleasant surprises. Besides, I remember the days when simply turning on the radio provided a variety of new songs that eventually became favorites. I guess I’m slightly outside the demographic for top 40 radio.
As much of a music person as I am (or was), admittedly, I’m lazy! Hence the regular use of oldies stations! However, over the last few months I’ve made an attempt to find new music to listen to! While on this quest, because that’s what it’s become, I’ve discovered a couple things.
The second, is something I found while perusing reddit. A game called The Sound Cypher. This thing took elements from my quest to find new music and combined them into a fun activity that helped me reconnect with music I haven’t heard in ages while introducing me to songs that I’ve never heard before. The added bonus is that playing the game is a great excuse to get together with friends and argue about music while listening songs to prove your point!
The game presents topics where you need to come up with a song that fits! Generally speaking, the topics are pretty simple but they definitely make you think! One card that's always interesting, makes you think back to childhood for a song that we really shouldn’t have been listening to or singing along with! As an adult, it’s funny looking back on just how inappropriate some of the music was from our adolescence. Some cards prompt you to select songs based on popular music topics, others are based on word association and some make you rack your brain for the best song from a specific artist. All in all this game has really made for some enjoyable evenings!
The new music discovery aspect of The Sound Cypher comes from the people you play the game with. My circle is quite diverse based on the industry that occupies my days and helps to keep the lights on! A couple of times a year I’m tasked with hosting a “party” for my department. These parties, really just gatherings, run the typical work “party” course! Nibbles, drinks, small talk, work recaps and banter about the latest thing happening in the media! These gatherings have jokingly become known as the after-hour break room! During the last party I decided to introduce The Sound Cypher!
The thing that surprised me the most once the game started was just how much musical overlap exist between generations and cultures. I wasn’t sure how or if the game would work in a room of people spanning different ages and backgrounds but The Sound Cypher totally changed the dynamics of our last gathering. I’m actually looking forward to the next work party and best of all, I’ve been introduced to a few new artist and some great songs that have reignited my love for music.
We've dedicated this section of the website to conversations about music! We will explore a variety of topics related to music and how it directly effects our lives. The pieces contained in this section have been independently authored and/or co-authored by people in The Sound Cypher community. We look forward to your commentary, submissions and insight on how music has influenced your life!