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An Excerpt from Music Medicine: The Science and Spirit of Healing Yourself with Sound by Christine Stevens

Christine Stevens affirms the healing powers of music as medicine for the mind, body, soul, and emotion. Here is an excerpt on music and the ways in which it can be nurturing.

Heartstrings

"Notes open the gateways of our hearts. We are moved by the melody that touches, soothes, awakens, releases, or inspires our heart centers. We know when a melody reaches our heartstrings because tears come and emotions that sometimes surprise us burst forth. It's not a cognitive process; it's about feeling.

"Our expressions show the connection between melody and the heart. When music is memorized, we say we know it by heart. When we belt out a tune, we say we're singing our hearts out. We listen to our heart song, and hearing our favorite song plays on our heartstrings. The term heartstring actually comes from the chordae tendineae, which are the tendons that open and close the heart valves.

"When we speak, there is a melody in language arts; this melody is the spoken song that sings of our emotions. Linguists call this melody of our language prosody — the high and low pitches, the rising and falling melodic contour that underscores our words. The melody of language communicates the emotions of our hearts. It's the song in the notes of language that sing the feelings behind our words. In human development, melody predates language; we sing before we speak. Perhaps instead of the African saying 'If you can talk, you can sing,' the reverse may be truer: 'If you can sing, you can talk.'

"Melody is a powerful healing force that allows us to move more deeply into a place of love that is a genesis of healing. Heart-centeredness is a metaphor of living from compassion and passion, no longer cut off from the juice that drives music's serenading force of love. You might say that melody is a form of open-heart surgery. As Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan said, 'If one can focus one's heart on music, it is just like warming something that was frozen. The heart returns to its natural condition.' "

 


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Music Medicine
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