Does music sound better at night? It is often said that music is the window to the soul, but how that is well understood is something of a mystery, since those that propagate the statement often reflect the attittudes whose logic is often contradictory to what they are saying. It is something that is open to inspection and observation.
Music and the mind
The art of observation states that one should be free from the judgement of what they are observing, to be able to see something as it is, without any limiting definitions; and when one hears music, what it really is are just sounds, the arrangement of sound may sound arbitrary at first, but there may be an underlying pattern to it. From afar everything sounds muddy and confused but when one comes close to it, things start to make more sense. When one is out in the open environment, the one thing that becomes apparent is the multitude of sounds that are present and coarsing all around, at first it may sound chaotic but upon closer inspection one would hear that there is an inherent pattern to the whole thing. One becomes aware of what is creating each sound, the chirp of the birds, the rumble of the motor vehicles and the hum of the machines and insects. This speaks to the mind an organised world, organised by nature and man. That is the intepretation of the noise outside of our heads, the noise of some sort of intelligence operating and that is what we recognise. This takes place through the act of attention that which we give to what we are observing attention is really giving our mind to something that we see/experience. So our minds have a role to play in how we hear music, becuase without its application music is merely noise, and sound that seems to have an arbitrary origin and purpose.
However, when one pays attention to each of the sounds in any particular piece of music, they will begin to notice a pattern, the pattern of each sound. Pattern seems to imply order, and a certain intelligence that is operating to arrange these patterns of sounds. When one realises these patterns, this gives rise to pleasure, the pleasure of hearing that particular arrangement of sound giving rise to what the mind recognises as music. The grouping of different patterns of sound is what gives rise to the ordering principle of music today called genres. I have discussed in a previous article (genre wars) about how genre brings about culture through the grouping of individuals that have similar preference for the genre. What it really is, is a grouping of different mindsets, and patterns of thinking, all music resides in the mind, a reflection of the intepretation of the noise in the head, of which their origin is unkown. The light of the day captured for the night.
The day and the night are two sides of the same coin, often called opposites by the dualistic mind that seems to intepret the reality in a somewhat digital fashion of on and off, hot and cold. On the face of it, day and night seem like complete opposites when one observes it from the perspective of the presence of or the absence of light of the sun. This is a view which has long remained since the begining of history, when man has since organised the activity of his day based on the movement of the sun and consequently the movement of life, the birds sing in the morning, the bees buzz through the meadows and the wind rustles through the trees. These are the sounds that are picked up by the primitive mind that is out in the wild, and when sunset comes all dies down and comes to a quiet stand still. The same operation can be observed in the mind, which prepares to go to sleep after a day of complex computation and operation. To seek pleasure for the body and the spirit, the mind always seeks patterns that are familiar, and since primitive times, the goal has always been to recreate the patterns which one has observed to give rise to a pleasureable experience. Music was created for the introspective mind, a mind that can look within itself and observe the patterns of the noises within it. The noises that were percieved are recreated though the creation of instruments of manipulating the wind, instruments that disturb a material to create unique sounds. A pattern that is created is recognisable and the listener who recognises this pattern feels an elation of energy within themselves to bring about a dance.
When the night time comes, all comes to a stand still
When the sun goes down, all comes to rest like a pendulum that has completed its swing, and all comes to a silent stillness the kind of stillness which bring one to the awareness of themslves being the only thing which is moving, alive, active. It is also the time when all the subtle light from the stars becomes visible, where even the most dim light from the most distant of places becomes visible, the night time brings about subtle play. Music to be truly appreciated, to explore this pleasure, which gives rise to dance one must be in a space which will allow for this activity to take place. To create music one requires space, space not only to place instruments but to also hear the instrument as well. This space can only be achieved when there is nothing present to interfere with the movement of that sound. Space allows one to percieve something, free from distortion free from interference. To celebrate the sounds of nature one must recreate them when nature is least active, just as the stars appear when the sun goes down, that also goes for the mind. When the night time comes, the activities of the body also come to a close, preparing for rest, but it is only the sound of music that can ignite an energy within it to bring about the pleasure of dance.
All the thoughts of the brain come to a rest, and it has been proven that the brain waves also change in character from alpha to theta state, and allow one to be in a state of relaxation where they are able ot percieve realitiy in a slightly different manner. The way it listens to music also tends to become different, it pays attention to more subtle sounds, and hence becomes more sensitive, more intelligent. Only in silence can intelligent music be understood, becuase that requires the highest levels of attention, attention that is not merely superficial, but a caring attention that discerns the subtle patterns which the casual mind would not easily capture, which awakens a new intelligence, that exists outside of casual existence.