But not all of these sounds are words. There is a second, wordless language of pitch, key, tempo, contour, interval and rhythm: music is an auditory fractal, a 3-dimensional map of a chaotic system. (Chaos, in science, is not randomness but precisely the opposite. It’s a level of order and organization that’s beyond our ability to grasp and comprehend.)
Whoever controls the music controls the mood of the room.
When the message of that first language of sound – words – contradicts the message of the embedded second language of sound – music – our interpretation of the song will be guided by the music more often than by the words because words encoded in music are not interpreted in the same way as when they arise from silence or come piercing through an ocean of background noise.
Words are interpreted in the rational, logical, sequential, deductive reasoning hemisphere of your brain – the left hemisphere* – while complex patterns of pitch, key, tempo, contour, interval and rhythm are interpreted in the pattern-recognition hemisphere of your brain, the non-judgmental right.**
The right hemisphere makes no judgments, has no morals and doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction. This is perhaps why, in the words of Voltaire, “Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.” The right hemisphere gives us the ability to enjoy fiction books and movies we know to be untrue. The right hemisphere is why we’re happy to bellow song lyrics at the tops of our lungs without needing to understand what we’re singing.
These are some of the things you’ll learn in the opening session of the communications workshop we call Magical Worlds.
Daniel Whittington was a touring musician for 18 years prior to becoming vice-chancellor at Wizard Academy. After participating in the Magical Worlds workshop a couple of times he said, “Every musician on earth should take this class.” The next day he employed TRIZ principle 13 (Turn it upside-down, do it backwards,) and TRIZ principle 32 (Change the color) as he played a melancholy version of a perky, pop mega-hit from 1980, Celebration by Kool & The Gang. Then he applied a similar set of inversion principles to I Just Want to Celebrate, another big, happy-energy song from Rare Earth, circa 1971.
I said, “Let’s do a whole album of those.”
Daniel spent the next several months writing music, recruiting talent, and recording that album. And then he shifted into planning, coordinating and delivering the April concert we held in Tuscan Hall on the campus of Wizard Academy.
The album is called Bring the Dark. You’re going to be impressed.
You can download the studio version of the album and then watch the live concert video at DanielWhittington.com. Indiana Beagle is going to show a few highlights from that video in today’s rabbit hole.
One of our objectives in this project was to demonstrate the attractive power of highly divergent elements brought into reconciliation through the use of third gravitating bodies. The secret, as every cognoscenti knows, is to add something that absolutely doesn’t belong, and then make it fit perfectly. WHAM! Surprise becomes delight. This is incredibly attractive to the unconscious mind but it often goes undetected by the conscious mind because when a highly divergent element fits, it feels as though it belongs.
Here’s an example from the concert: You’re listening to a countrypolitan version of Staying Alive by the BeeGees when you hear the signature harmonica passage from Neil Young’s Heart of Gold and then a rap artist pops in and raps awhile and the whole thing is integrated so seamlessly that it never occurs to you that any of this is unusual in any way.
How about Abba’s perky Take a Chance on Me played with drunken Bourbon Street trumpet accents and an agonized Bonnie Raitt-style guitar solo? It doesn’t sound wrong at all.
How about Girl From Ipanema, the definitive Bossa Nova song, sung as a male/female call-and-response duet without a Bossa Nova rhythm? You’ll hear it and think it’s always been that way.
Highly divergent elements reconciled through the use of a third gravitating body are the unwavering signature of high-interest communication. Ask any Cognoscenti of Magical Worlds.
Now enjoy the album and concert video at DanielWhittington.com while we plan another fun album and an even bigger concert for next year.
You’re coming, right?
Roy H. Williams
Do you have a child or grandchild between 12 and 16 years old?
Do you want to share an experience with them they’ll remember for the rest of their life and tell their kids about some day? Two people, one price, and it happens just once a year. The Young Writers Workshop is July 8-9, two days, three nights. Marvelous meals and on-campus lodging make this an incredible value. Everyone that’s ever participated in it has RAVED about this workshop. You really should do it.
This week, Dr. Bill Dorfman, the featured dentist and occasional host of the CBS award-winning daytime show, The Doctors, helps us begin season four of Monday Morning Radio. Oprah, The Tonight Show, The Today Show, and Dr. Phil have invited Dorfman to share his life and health insights on their shows, but he’s not just a television personality. He’s a bestselling author, an inventor, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist as well. Rocket with Rotbart and hear how Dr. Dorfman launched the career that would make him a multi-millionaire business owner and international celebrity from that most unlikely of places: dental school. It’s a story worth hearing at MondayMorningRadio.com
*The names of persons, places, and things – the sounds we call nouns – are interpreted in Wernicke’s Area, slightly behind the left ear, while descriptions of actions – verbs – are interpreted by Broca’s Area, slightly forward of the left ear.
** You see a pattern of events begin to unfold and you have a gut-feeling, a wordless hunch, a glimmer of insight. Your right-brain working is working it’s pattern-recognition magic and you experience it as intuition.