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Thnking Ahead

A thought to ponder on the road–feel free to start your own discussion.

As BJ and I get ready to slip back onto the highway tomorrow morning for the last leg of our country tour, I’ve come up with questions that I feel deserve at least a momentary consideration. As anyone who’s ever been on a road trip knows, time passes much faster when there is a question for discussion.

What precipitated these questions?

After a farewell luncheon today, I took a wee nap. The combination of creamy Italian soup and salad did me in, along with the headache I developed from too much unaccustomed sunshine. I woke about a half-hour later from a dream with a song from the eighties running through my head.

I know that most people have occasion to wake with a familiar tune playing on their mental radio. Sometimes the tune can be given a name and sometimes not, according to the “Name That Tune” acumen of the one waking. For me, I could replay and listen to the song in my head and couldn’t for the life of me remember the title.

Not only that, but I couldn’t even hum the tune I was hearing in my head so that someone else could give me the title. Let me tell you, that’s frustration.

The “song in the dream” phenomenon got me to thinking. I knew a few things. One: it’s common for people to experience music within their dreams. All people dream, whether they remember them or not. It’s necessary for brain function and mental health.

If the reference to necessity for dream holds true, then it stands to reason that man has always had the capacity for dream. Heck, even animals dream.

Back When

Using the above logic we can ask if music within dream is a recent evolutionary development, or has it always been part of the dreamer’s experience? Did our ancestors, thousands of years ago, hear music in their dreams? And if so, what kind of music?

Did they hear birdsong, ritual drum beats, human humming? What?

Did they sit in wonder at their dream life? Was dreaming considered something bestowed by the gods or a curse given to those who’d done regrettable acts during their waking life? Of course, we can only postulate as to an answer.

If those ancient ancestors didn’t experience music within dream, when did it begin? Did it begin when musical composition became formalized and several instruments came together to form orchestras and ensembles? If so, were the wealthy, who could afford to hear such musical concerts, the only ones who developed the habit? The less fortunate of the time would hardly have had access to such cultural venues, after all.

If that’s the case, did the dream music phenomenon jump class distinctions when music became more available to all? Think about it. Until the phonograph’s invention, the common man didn’t hear symphonies and operas. There were various traveling entertainers, it’s true. Wandering minstrels were a staple in Renaissance Europe.

Technical Influences

Did recorded music create the phenomenon? How much of what we input is accompanied by music? TVs are on for hours every day. That’s pictures with music, folks, right? Mini movies, of sorts. We’ve gotten accustomed to having music with moving pictures.

Most of our cell phones have music for every occasion. It’s almost impossible to go into a retail store and not be bombarded with music. How about restaurants? In other words, our ears are pounded with music at all hours of the day, and we can’t seem to remove ourselves from it.

Since vision and music seem to be inseparable, is it any wonder that dreams use the same conditions as our waking time. Why shouldn’t our dreams be filled with notes and tunes? In fact, if music disappeared from the dreams of those who notice and remember it later, what would be the reaction?

I’ve actually had dreams in which I’m sitting somewhere listening to the radio. I have to ask myself if that’s how I rationalize the presence of music within the dream, or is it my mind’s way of providing context for the movie my brain is premiering for me.

Take a moment to ask yourself some of these questions and see what answers you come up with. If you’d like to share them, please leave a comment. There is one fact that rides on the coattails of dreams.

That fact is that whatever we do routinely during the day gets processed during dream. Problems find resolution, arguments get diffused, disputes find easing, etc. If someone talks on their cell phone all day, does the cell phone play an integral part in the person’s dreams each night? And if so, what are those phone calls about? Just wondering.

Until we come together again in a few days, a bientot,

Claudsy

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  1. April 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks, it’s usefully for me.

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