Confucius once said, "music is born of emotion." Although music is one of the most prominent elements in our culture, it is most indescribable. In attempts to trace the origin of music, the study of musicology has been coined to clarify the mystification. Perhaps the mystery behind the origin of music would account for the inability to describe it. Music may even predate human speech. It has been viewed as both literally and figuratively as "a form of language or speech less specific than the spoken word, but possessing subtler shades of meaning and more emotive force." Robert Schumann once noted, "Perhaps it is precisely the mystery of her origin which accounts for the charm of her beauty." Music has also been perceived as an inherently mystical or occult force able to unlock elemental truths or principles that cannot otherwise be translated into written or graphic form. Music is also considered one of the most abstract and mathematical of the arts requiring not only the utmost concentration and articulation, yet divine expression. Expression is one of the traits characterized by creativity. Several studies have been conducted linking creativity and mental illness. Over the past few decades a swelling chorus of psychologist, psychiatrists, and even a few neuroscientists have begun to suggest that, "bipolar illness somehow enhances the ability to create art." It has also been said that tuburculosis produces periods of "hyperactivity and lassitude creating a mental exaltation that predisposes its victims to extraordinary insights." In 1986, R.D. Laing concluded that, "schizophrenics create some of the truest art because the mad are more closely in touch with their inner selves than are the sane." Although many are skeptical about the link between madness and greatness research has found some startling results. Nancy Andreasen began looking to test the then current idea of a link between bipolar disorder and creativity. Andreasen, a Ph.D.. in English literature, initiated interviews with thirty faculty members at the prestigious University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and matched the faculty members with control subjects in nonartistic professions. She found that, 80 percent of the participating writers revealed they had suffered either depression or manic depression, compared with 30 percent of the control subjects. (Two of the writers even took their own lives.) "The bipolar connection" she recalls, just leaped out at me.
Kay Redfield Jamison conducted another intricate study in 1989 using a large group of Oxford Britons including members of the royal academy, Booker Prize winners, and contributors to The Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse. She states, In the general population, rates of bipolar illness hover at about 1%, and major depression affects between 5 and 15 percent of the population. In Jamison's sample, however, 38 percent of the artists had been treated for affective illness (including simple depression as well as bipolar illness), and for three quarters of that group the treatment had gone beyond talk therapy to lithium, anti-depressants, electroshock, or all three. Clearly, "intense emotional pain went hand in hand with creativity for even the most successful of these artists." A controversial book entitled The Price of Greatness, written by Arnold Ludwig, is said to resolve the Creativity and Madness controversy. Arnold and his colleagues analyzed twenty-two hundred biographies of one thousand and four eminent men and women. It was labeled as, an effort to learn what factors combine to produce the kind of "higher-order" creativity that makes historians sit up and take notice. Ludwig found that as a group, "creative artists displayed much higher levels of mental illness than did their creative counterparts in more structured occupations." As adolescents, 29 to 34 percent of aspiring artists exhibited psychiatric symptoms. When comparing this to the 3 to 9 percent of future acheivers in sciences, sports, and business, a distinct correlation can be seen between creativity and mental instability. The results in adult participants were more startling with rates of between 70 and77 percent for poets, music performers, and fiction writers; 59 to 68 percent for painters, composers, and non-fiction writers; and only 18 to 29 percent for eminent natural scientists, politicians, architects, and businesspeople. Two theories are presented. The first being that mental illness increases creativity. This theory is not well-liked because of its glorification of mental illness. The second being that creative people find themselves, almost by default, in the arts rather than business or the sciences. Some clinicians have established that, all sorts of mental and physical problems- from depression to severe childhood illness- confer outsider status, and that feeling outside the mainstream can help motivate people to become artists. "It doesn't necessarily have to be madness" says psychiatrist Bob Klitzman of Columbia University. "You can feel like an outsider because you're gay, or a woman, or a Southerner, or black. Anything that gives you the sense that the world you see isn't the world that others see can motivate you to want to tell your own story." Other explanations of mental illness which can make it sound appealing is the explanation that it causes, "a kind of restlessness, discomfort, need to express oneself." Bipolar illness is said to leave their patients "open to a great range of intensity to moods, which can then be translated into art." (82) Views like this can be destructive to the mentally ill. It gives them a reason not to get better. When a sufferer of bipolar disorder was interviewed she stated, "Sometimes I think God gave me the gift of creativity as a consolation prize, but I'm still suffering. I don't know where this disease came from, but I sure wish it would go away." Although many wish to ameliorate the anguish of these individuals, we can still appreciate the contribution to the arts that they have made. Unfortunately, that is not much of a consolation. However, research has shown that there is a distinct connection between madness and greatness.
The connection between psychology and musicology is demonstrated by restating the definition of each and fitting them together like a puzzle. Each statement will have a comparative and contrasting piece of information having to do with music. One can decide for himself whether or not he sees a relevant connection. Psychopathology is illness that is revealed in impaired behavioral and psychological functioning or both, while branches of psychology and sociology consider broader issues in the relation of music to mental processes and social change. Psychopaths experience a broad range of symptoms such as abnormalities in sensations, cognition, and emotional states. Music is said to have been born of emotion, and to possess less specificity than language, but more emotive force. Would one consider a person getting "lost" in their music so much that they are transcended into another place an abnormality? Some people are brought into different emotional states just by listening to music, rather than playing or conducting it. It is known that listening to climatic pieces of music can bring someone into a frenzied state of elation and excitement. Would one consider that an abnormal sensation? A working assumption in the field of psychology is that psychological syndrome, or groups of symptoms, are not merely predictable responses to a specific event, for instance the death of a loved one, but rather a manifestation of a psychological or biological dysfunction in the person. Oceans of music are known to reflect emotional crisis or loss of a stressful event. For instance, Beethoven's C minor mood was written mainly because of his poor emotional state due to his loss of hearing. The symptoms of schizophrenia include incoherent speech, inappropriate emotional reactions, and disorganized behavior. Music has been viewed both literally and figuratively as a form of language or speech. Although it is less specific, it is more intense. If music, viewed as speech, is erratic, confusing, or frustrating (or even incoherent), is it a symptom of schizophrenia? Paranoid patients appear excessively odd or eccentric to others. Patients show unwarranted suspicion, jealousy, and anger, and as a result, have recurring interpersonal conflicts.
There are several composers of note that are notorious for their eccentricity. One candidate for this illness could be, Antonio Salieri, for his insane jealousy and rancor for Mozart. It was a rumor that he even caused his death. Walter Carlos, now known as Wendy Carlos, is the inventor of the famous Moog synthesizer. Would his sex-change operation be considered an interpersonal conflict? Passive aggressive personality disorder, also known as anti-social, involves non-compliance with social norms without openly defying them, yet resists influence indirectly by procrastination or intentional inefficiency. Every composer who was original in Europe was considered ludicrous. If any composer propounded a new concept of music or composed a piece that was "too good to be true", they were viewed as being possessed by the devil. Sorabji, formerly Leon Dudley, decided to change his name to something utterly unpronounceable to hinder audiences to attend his concerts. He also would threaten legal action onto anyone who would dare to attempt his work. Erik Satie refused to wash with soap. The Bach family, consisting of seventy-six musical descendants, were all named Johann. Beethoven was a prominent follower of the Napoleon Bonaparte in a country which was strictly against him. Due to his loss of hearing he developed a sense of resignation towards the world. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of depression as well as periods of mania, or extreme mood elevations. Mozart, in his later life experienced periods of mournful isolation which was apparent in the darker themes of poignancy in his music. Although his emotional state was dark his music was still extremely erratic. Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by marked indifference to social relationships and restricted range of emotional expression. Perhaps Beethoven's avoidance of human contact would make him a candidate for this emotional disorder. Maybe Rachmaninoff's need for hypnosis treatments to compose his second piano concerto for this disorder. The earliest explanations for abnormal behavior were based on the beliefs of the supernatural. It was thought that an evil, supernatural being can control a person's body or mind. Music has been perceived as an inherently mystical or occult force, able to unlock elemental truths or principles that cannot be otherwise translated into written or graphic form. Paganini's music was so elaborate and difficult that it was often thought that he was possessed by the devil. Is there a connection between music and psychology? Is there a connection between creativity and madness? Although it is a matter of opinion or observation, a positive correlation does exist.
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