The Music Effect: Music Physiology and Clinical Applications

By Daniel J. Schneck; Dorita S. Berger | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Principles of Physics
and the Elements of Music

Theories are generally not perfect, and hence, a theory can never be
absolutely verified. Some philosophers therefore emphasize that
testing of a theory can be used only to falsify it, not to confirm it.

Douglas C. Giancoli, Physics for Scientists and Engineers


Introduction

A science professor came to class one day and declared, "Chemistry, biology, geology, art, music, politics, psychology, autism, psychiatry, astronomy, botany – all of these cannot exist without physics; there is only physics!" What this professor was trying to get his students to understand was that all aspects of this planet, and the universe within which it exists, ultimately reduce to the same common denominator, "physics." Indeed, in order to understand "the music effect" – how the elements of music come into existence to begin with, what governs physiological function, how the human body is affected by and responds to the elements of music, what works, why it works, how it works, and so on – clinicians and researchers must be armed with at least a rudimentary understanding of the physics in the nature of things, the scientific physics of both objective and subjective "reality."

The human body's ability to react to its environment derives from the physical stimulation of its sensory receptors. The body interprets what it perceives to be "real" based on how these sensory inputs are physically dispensed with through its various information-processing networks. The human body itself would not thrive were it not for the physics of physiological function. Music would not be possible were it not for the physics of sound. And certainly, one could not react to the elements of music were it not for the physics of neurological motor function. A music therapy clinician

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