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How Music Provides Enlightenment
by Alex Cosper (9/15/14)

If life gets too stressful at least you can turn to music for enlightenment. Not many other things in the world can provide such a mood altering remedy in such a pure, safe and uplifting way. Enlightenment can be defined many ways and it's probably unique for each individual.

Historically, the Age of Enlightenment was 1600s through early 1800s, overlapping with the Age of Romanticism, which spanned most of the 19th century. The enlightenment period reflected the rise of reason and science while the romanticism era that followed added mystery, emotion and imagination. The past century's art has mixed those two schools of thought with other modern ideas that reflect a broader view of enlightenment.

The rock era has produced several recordings that reflect classical music, from "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams in the sixties, to "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen and "A Fifth of Beehthoven" by Walter Murphy in the seventies and "Hooked on Classics" by Larry Elgart in the eighties. Even though classical music represents a small market share close to 1 percent of all music sold, most people accept that classical music has a rich and influencial history around the world. Scientists have even shown that plants and even animals enjoy classical music.

The song "Classical Gas" was curious in the late 60s because it was a short song that almost hit #1, which contrasted the image of classical music as being long pieces and selling at the bottom of the charts. Another type of drawn out but very expressive and enlightening type of music is improvisational jamband music such as Dopapod, a DIY indie band from Connecticut, who recorded an album a few years ago completely powered by solar energy.

Besides classical music, you can find music that generates listening experiences toward a state of higher consciousness in almost every genre. Tropical, worldbeat, reggae and ska immediately come to mind as music that can help you enjoy the bigger picture of life, which is a planet with a positive spirit. Several Bob Marley songs accomplish that ideal, such as "One Love" and "Redemption Song."

The interesting journey into the distant past helps erase the boundaries of time. That's a big reason many people still love the music of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Music serves the function of a time machine in that sense, although it's possible to think of classic music in a completely different way, such as certain music just lasts forever and keeps sounding better over time.

In classical music JS Bach represented the complex scientific music of the Common Practice era, which included Baroque music, and much of the music that has defined the golden age of classical music. Bach inspired many other composers of the era to write music with complex harmonies which marked the beginning of symphonies. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's late 1700s composing took this style of music, reflecting the Age of Enlightenment, to its apex. The American Revolution and the early visions of freedom in the United States were shaped by founding fathers who were heavily influenced by the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment.

In the early 1800s, Ludwig van Beethoven began to push the boundaries of classical music. The early decades of the 19th century were considered a transition into the Age of Romanticism, which emphasized simpler melodies with more emotion and freeform creativity. The music of Franz Liszt reflected the Age of Romanticism, which continued through the end of World War II. Later contemporary classical music drew from both eras. The main reason classical music has been overshadowed by pop music in the 20th and 21st cenutries is due to the marketing and promotion priorities of the major labels. Pop music simply sells faster. Pop reflects the culture's shortened attention span, which again has been a result of the way modern media is delivered and saturated in pop culture settings.

Many people turn to classical music because of its wide spectrum of sounds. But you can easily get those same "Good Vibrations" from surf music of the sixties. Inventor Nikola Tesla observed the incredible significance of vibrations, which led to many great inventions including radio. The metaphysical crowd points to vibrations as important to meditation. People who understand both music and the science of audio, understand that vibrations are what make up the frequencies of musical tones.

Every note on a musical instrument can be measured by its frequency, which is the number of times it vibrates per second. Middle C on a piano is about 523 hz, which is near 528 hz, a frequency associated with happiness and healing. It's the frequency of the hit recording "Imagine" by John Lennon. Songs with mind expanding lyrics like "Imagine" or "Dream Weaver" by Gary Wright are examples of songs with power to enlighten due partly to the visionary lyrics and partly to the dreamy melodies.

Pop music has produced several surprises in terms of music that addresses higher consciousness and a stressfree state of mind. "Saved By Zero" by The Fixx deals with letting go of all your material possessions to reach a position of having nothing left to lose, getting back to zero. Another song outside the bounds of materialism is "Spirits in the Material World," by the Police, which calls the bluff of politicians and seeks knowledge through communication beyond the material world. Seeing through "Superstition," as advised by Stevie Wonder, is another reflection of the Age of Enlightenment.

Instrumental music works nicely as well, especially if it has flute sounds over bongos and other organic instruments. Music from India using a sitar has a meditative sound, as the instrument is based on a scale with twice as many notes as western scales. The music of Prem Joshua achieves a vibe of higher consciousness, similar to the sitar-flavored psychedelic recordings of the Beatles, such as "Within You, Without You."

The main key to experiencing enlightenment in the new century is to relax and get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to stress, which works against the mind and body. The pursuit of money has a tendency to add a lot of extra stress to the world, although the pursuit of happiness does not rely on money. Some of the songs that can help you forget about finances and get back to nature include "End of the Innocence" by Don Henley and "Across the River" by Bruce Hornsby & The Range.

The good vibrations that come with enlightenment can be transformed into business success as well as spiritual happiness. The key is to develop a relaxed focus. The mix of a dream state and careful reasoning can produce wonders. The following is an hour long playlist for people pursuing a state of enlightenment.

The Beatles - All You Need Is Love
The Beatles - The Inner Light
The Beatles - I'm Only Sleeping
John Lennon - Imagine
Dire Straits - Why Worry
Sting - Love Is the Seventh Wave
The Police - Spirits in the Material World"
The Fixx - Saved By Zero
Stevie Wonder - Superstition
Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over
Bob Dylan - When the Ship Comes In
Howard Jones - Life In One Day
Mason Williams - Classical Gas
Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
Icicle Works - Whisper To a Scream (Birds Fly)
Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly
Depeche Mode - Blashpemous Rumours
Don Henley - The End of the Innocence
Bruce Hornsby & The Range - Across the River
Gary Wright - Dream Weaver
Simon & Garfunkel - Feelin' Groovy

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