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Tag Archives: music

The Purpose of Music

listening-to-music

In two of my prior posts I talked about the evolution of music over the centuries and how it has constantly evolved over time. I also talked about how important music is to us in our daily lives because of music’s profound impact on our psyches. I discussed how music can change our psyches by pumping us up or calming us down. Now I would like to answer the question of why the human brain likes music as much as it does and what evolutionary purpose music serves to human beings.

            Music is heavily associated with the reward system in our brains. It is no secret that the reason we listen to music is because we find it pleasurable. So it makes sense that when our brains hear songs that we like it triggers the release of the reward chemical known as dopamine. This essentially lets us know that what we are doing is good. Now generally the dopamine system in our brain gives us the feeling of reward when we do things that are essential to survival such as eating food but music is obviously an exception to this rule as in has no obviously apparent survival value.

Neuroscientists have studied and investigated the link between music and the dopamine systems in our brains and have found some clues as to what the brain likes so much about music. Researchers have discovered that at certain points in a song we like we experience a peak amount of pleasure. In other words this is like our favorite part of the song. At the point of song where we experience maximum pleasure our brain releases dopamine. But it doesn’t just stop there. Not only does our brain release dopamine during our favorite part of a song it also releases dopamine in a different part of the brain just prior to hearing our favorite part which is particularly interesting. Neuroscientists have determined that the reason for this is because our brains is making predictions about what we are about to hear and our brains get pleasure from being able to anticipate and predict what is coming.

Now that I have given some insights as to what exactly our brains like so much about music I would like to discuss what the possible evolutionary purpose of music is. Dancing is probably the biggest complement to music. Whenever we hear our favorite songs we often like to dance, tap our feet or nod our heads to the beat of the song. Now listening to music and dancing to music is not something that we just do all by ourselves. In fact, this is something that is often done together in groups with our friends. I can’t speak for other people I personally have never gone to a concert all by myself. I always go with friends or family. Studies have shown that people who listen to music and dance together are more likely work together on non-musical tasks. I believe that the reason for this is because music bonds us together through shared experience and in my opinion this is what the ultimate purpose of music is. Music is a way to bond people together and bring us closer to on another. This explains why we like to go concert together with our friends and why we dance together in sync. When I was in I used to love to listen to my favorite tunes with my friends after school and  I can see now that the reason I enjoyed it was because it was a shared experience and memory that I have with my friends.

            Music is essentially a way to bring people closer together through a common experience. This is the evolutionary purpose of music. Music brings us together.

           

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Get Personal With Customizable Headphone Skins

brentshapiro

In the past year, Velodyne’s Designer Skins have taken on a life of their own. Starting off with 35 designs available on our website, the designer skins originally were created as a true fashion accessory to fit over our vFree wireless headphones to match any mood or outfit. Over time, we held a few contests, promotions and developed partnershnips that involved blank skins and non-Velodyne employees getting creative and designing their own. The “Artist Corner” has been a popular activity during music festivals and concert ticket lines. We have also partnered with the Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose, CA which has led to custom painted subwoofers in addition to several one-of-a-kind headphone skins that may have the chance to go into mass production.

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Blank headphone skins are available at Velodyne.com for you to unleash your inner artist. They are available in both white and black. You can paint them, draw on them with colored markers, or add other materials for a true multimedia art project.

Most recently, we have released the vLeve headphone, which is the perfect base for any one of our headphone skins, whether it be Designer, Artist Series, or your very own creation. The sound is incredible for a basic headphone with the unique teardrop design trademarked by Velodyne President Marta Hall.

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The most exciting development we have for the headphone skins is the custom design for musical artists, athletes/sports teams. We have designed a skin for The Mowgli’s, which we will debut at SXSW in March. We started by creating one for the 2013 California-Carolina All-Star game held here at San Jose Municipal Stadium last summer. From there, we have created many renderings that are still under consideration. There are other custom skins in the works, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, go to our site and pick up a skin for your vLeve or vFree. Or two or three.

How do you express yourself? The choice is yours.

 

 

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Music and Daily Life

music-notes

Music is no doubt an important part of our daily lives. We hear it in on the radio in our cars on our way to work and school. We listen it on our headphones when we are jogging and walking.  We hear it being played at professional sporting events when we go to see our favorite team play. We even go to concerts just to listen to our favorite artists play their best songs.

Now you might be wondering why music is so important to us.  There really is not clear cut exact answer to this tough question. However, if we examine what music does to our state of mind when we are listening to it then this provides is with some clues. Music has a profound effect on our psyche.  We have all experienced this deep effect that music can have on our state of mind. Music can pump us up and calm us down. It can make us happy or even sad depending on what the song is about and the context in which it is being played. It’s no wonder so many people listen to music when they are exercising.  The right song pumps us up and makes us want to push ourselves harder. This is obviously very helpful.  Now not only can music pump us up but it can calm us down as well.  Whether or not the music that we are listening to is going to hype us up or relax us depends heavily on what genre of music it is, the speed or beats per minute of the song, and how loud the volume is turned up. This all probably comes as no surprise to us as the majority of us have experienced how a loud rock and roll song can hype us up while we are running or how a soft classical song can put us to sleep.  The point is that music has a deep effect on our minds and this can be a very useful tool.

When we are tired in the morning before a long day at work or school we can try listening to something that is upbeat and happy as this will wake us up and get us into the right state of mind for that time of the day.  On the other hand, after a long day has passed and we are on our way home work of school we can try listening to some calm or soft music to help us relax and unwind after a tough day. It’s not hard to see how useful of a tool this can be for many of us.

Music is obviously an interesting phenomenon in human life. If you are wondering who invented music and when you maybe surprised to learn that it was never really invented. Music has actually been around since before recorded history began so we can only speculate as to where originated from.  It has been around as long as humans have been around and it has evolved over time just as humans have evolved over time.  As time continues to go on we can only wonder how music will change with it, but we can probably safely assume that music will continue to be a deep part of human life for a long time to come.

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Meet The Mowgli’s

The band in San Francisco at Fisherman's Wharf during America's Cup 2013

The band in San Francisco at Fisherman’s Wharf during America’s Cup 2013

Velodyne has recently partnered with The Mowgli’s, an 8-piece alternative rock band with a feel-good message of joy and love. They are best known for their song, “San Francisco”, which reached the 11th spot on on Billboard’s alternative chart in this year. Contrary to popular belief, most of the band hails not from San Francisco but from southern California. Velodyne was initially drawn to this band for their folk,indie-rock sound, rooted in collaboration with their large group of artists, musicians and friends. We saw an alignment to our company values in their support for charities such as charitywater.org, relayforlife.org and URawesome.org and their desire to change the world by performing random acts of kindness and being great human beings. Notably, when a recent Austin City Limits performance was cancelled due to rain, the band held an impromptu concert at a homeless shelter and  encouraged attendees to bring canned goods. The Mowgli’s…such good souls! This year’s tour is aptly named, “Random Acts of Kindness” and we at Velodyne could not be more thrilled to nurture the band on their trek across the U.S., leaving smiles and happiness in their wake.

Currently the band is finishing their tour supporting Walk the Moon, but we are looking forward to spending more time with them when they kick off their headlining tour to promote “Waiting for the Dawn”, their major label debut on Photo Finish Records/Island Records.

Enjoy this song, which was the theme for the San Francisco Giants 2012 season and was prominently played during their World Series-winning year.

Visit our Celebrity Spotlight page for more information and a signed headphone giveaway.

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Finding Sanity In Music

Lately, I’ve been staying up late into the night, typing up various papers, reading entire novels, frantically studying for that next midterm. The only thing that’s kept me sane throughout this quarter has been my music. And coffee. But really it’s been the music. At first I was just listening to the same old songs, the ones on the radio, the new pop songs. But after a while, I felt like I was lacking something crucial. These songs weren’t enough to keep me going night after night.

I needed to find new motivation. I searched my iTunes library, hoping for something to pop out at me. I tried Afro Celt, a unique mixture of African beats and Celtic instruments, but it couldn’t keep me up for more than an hour. Then I thought that maybe I needed to hear some of the old classics, the ones of my childhood. Which turn out to be the same songs my parents enjoyed in their youth. Soon, all that was emerging from my vFree was good old Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, the Moody Blues, Rush, the Who, Boston, Kansas, the Beatles, and other classic rock. It brought back pleasant memories, and revived this wonderful fondness in me for these bands. They got me through many a late night.

But there came a time when I began yearning for something new, but not any radio pop. I wanted something new to me, but still with that classic rock feel. I guess what really helped me then was Pandora, bringing me variety, with some songs that I knew, and some that I had never heard before.

I also took a stab at watching The Voice, to see if any of the contestants had what I was looking for. One caught my attention right away. Singing the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Terry McDermott of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, stole the competition, at least for me. I’ve been following his work, and each song has been beautiful, especially his rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I began to wonder if McDermott had any original songs to offer, and I began to search for some. It turns out he had been in multiple bands—the two most prominent being Driveblind and Lotus Crush. Driveblind was formed in Scotland, and came over to the U.S. in the early 2000s. It caught my fancy right away, and I’ve been listening to it ever since. It helped me get through my last midterm, just last Friday. Specifically, the song “Autumn Red” got me through the midterm. I did receive some pretty strange looks in the library, with my vPulse in, rocking out to my new favorite band, but I didn’t care. It helped me keep my sanity throughout this first quarter of college. I’ll always be grateful for that.

Here’s a listen to the song that brought Driveblind to America, “The Fool Rides Again.”

http://soundcloud.com/terryvox/the-fool-rides-again

Also, for a look at what he’s done on “The Voice,” here’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” (skip to 1:22 for Terry’s performance):

http://youtu.be/EAkDasYZr88

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Wordless Wednesday

It’s Hump Day! Time to pop in your vPulse in-ear headphones and JAM.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Wordless Wednesday

Some things just leave you speechless.

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How to get stuff done

  1. Go to a public place, preferably where caffeinated hot beverages are served.
  2. Drink a hot beverage.
  3. Play John Mayer’s album Battle Studies (or music of equivalent mellowness) through noise-reducing headphones, thereby creating for yourself a private world of focused concentration.
  4. Start.

The rest will take care of itself. Take it from someone who knows.

 

-Benevolent Siren

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