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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why We Like the Music We Do

What is music? All sounds are comprised of sound waves. What distinguishes music from other sound waves is the manner in which the sound waves vibrate and decrease from loud to soft. Dropping a metal pan on the floor presents jarring, erratic vibrations. Striking a note on a piano chord presents a softer more uniform and smooth transition from loud to soft. Obviously, a musical note is going to be much more pleasant to the ear.

There’s an old adage about how “music sooths the savage beast.” Not only is this true, it is actually an understatement. Music plays such a profound part of our lives, that we will barely scratch the surface here, but let’s give it an overview.

All of us grew up with certain songs or instrumentals that strike a chord that reverberates through our entire being. For example, when I hear “A Summer Place,” it immediately carries me back to summer months in the fifties. The experience is so profound that I can remember the feel of the sun on my face, the smell of hot dogs cooked over an open fire and the laughter of friends and family.

There is a theory that certain notes or chords resonate with a vibration that is particularly harmonious to specific people. Have you ever heard a song that gave you “goose bumps?” If so, then you give validation to this theory. When this occurs, the music has a profound affect on the subconscious. Add intense emotion to the equation and you have one powerful, indelible, blueprint on your subconscious that will follow you the rest of your life.

For example, let’s say that you receive news of the death of a loved one while a specific piece of music is playing on the radio. That particular music may have a lasting impression. Years later, for no apparent reason, you may find yourself immediately thrown into a state of depression upon hearing that same tune. The same can be true of “positive” feelings as described in the story above.

The subliminal effect of music is a proven fact. How often do you find yourself humming a fragment of a tune that you can’t identify only to discover that it’s a new “commercial” message you heard on your television. The advertising industry pays huge amounts of money to conduct research into why and how music works on the subconscious mind. This is also the reason why you see the recent trend by large companies to reconstitute classics originally performed by some of the greats of stage and screen.

Just for fun, the next time you find yourself humming a tune, try and remember when, where and under what circumstances you heard it for the very first time. The exercise will probably help you to better understand how past events have shaped your musical preferences. And, I’ll wager that the next time you hear “A Summer Place,” you will remember reading this article.

Happy Listening!

Travel: Misconceptions About Cruise Ships you have Heard

For many people, a cruise is the best type of travel anyone can take. On the other hand, there are still people who think that to go on a cruise would be no fun at all and a terrible waste of their travel funds. What are some of the reasons people give for not wanting to go on a cruise?

One of the most common reasons people give for not wanting to go on a cruise is they believe it would be boring. In reality, a cruise ship offers tons of activities that appeal to all kind of people: dancing, eating, live entertainment, sun bathing, gambling, swimming, parties and socializing, sports, movies, and did I mention eating?

There is the mistaken belief that people who go on a cruise become seasick. That may have been true 30 years ago but not now. The new cruise ships spend a lot of money on equipment and technology to stabilize the ship. Also, almost all of the cruises do not go into deep ocean water where the surf is the roughest. Most of the cruises, hug the coastline where the sea is fairly calm. Ask someone who has been on a cruise in the past three years and I doubt you will find anyone who has gotten seasick.

Once you realize that there is no way you could get bored and almost zero chance of getting seasick, the thought of taking a cruise make them think that the only kind of people who take cruises are old. Again, this is just not accurate. Today's younger people have the spending money and like all the activities that cruise ships offer. The younger folks realize that the types of people who go on cruises are fun loving and good to be around. There is an excellent chance that you will meet many wonderful, like-minded people on a cruise ship.

The last reason people offer for not taking a cruise is they would feel cramped being on a small ship and sleeping in a small cabin. The people who mention this objection have not been on a cruise ship. First of all, the cruise ships today are huge with many levels and lots of elbowroom. Second, while the cabin is not a presidential suite at a four star hotel, it is not closet-sized either. Considering the fact that the only time you spend in your stateroom is to sleep and to change clothes for your next fun activity, the size of the room is not an issue.

Instead of looking for excuses to avoid going on a cruise, spend some time looking for a good deal on a cruise ship going to a place you would like to visit.