Music as Meaningful Movement

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  • Title: Music as Meaningful Movement
  • Author(s): Brian Harlan
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Music, Evolutionary Psychology, Gesture, Movement, Synchrony
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 1833-1866 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2473-5809 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1833-1866/CGP/v12i01/15-24
  • Citation: Harlan, Brian. 2017. "Music as Meaningful Movement." The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review 12 (1): 15-24. doi:10.18848/1833-1866/CGP/v12i01/15-24.
  • Extent: 10 pages

Abstract

Music is a nested series of motions within motions. Its origins emerged from the evolution of human movement, and continue to be reinforced through infant development. Even the sound waves that music is built upon are comprised of the motion of air molecules, typically resulting in a human perception of harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic motion. This appears to explain why we ascribe meaning to sounds and music, since we unconsciously ascribe meaning to anything that moves. Yet music is not only a system of meaning, it is also a system of knowledge that is expressed through movement. The knowledge we stand to gain from music, moreover, is a reaffirmation of our deep interconnection with one another, and with the environment, since the experience of music involves bonding with others alongside bonding with the physical qualities of sound.