History of Immigrants and the Polish Music Scene

We have whole books filled with stories of Poles’ achievements abroad, but we know far less about the foreigners who had input in creating Polish culture. It may seem like everybody was leaving Poland, starting from the Great Emigration in the first half of 19th century and finishing in March 1968. However, the canon of Polish popular music was created not only by Poles and Jews, but also by refugees from neighbouring countries, economic migrants and people who accidentally ended up in Poland and decided to stay. Here are a few of their stories.

“Because it’s a negro playing!”
The history of Polish jazz did not start with underground jam sessions in the period of Stalinism, but on the dancefloors of fashionable clubs in the interwar period, where swing ruled. While some enjoyed the ‘psychosis of dance’, others complained about ‘jazz-banditry’ and ‘wild negro weed’ (specifically Kornel Makuszyński, who hated jazz). Sam Salvano’s success is proof that audiences were not convinced by what the conservative critics said. Salvano was primarily a drummer, but he also tap-danced and sang in five languages – no wonder

The Effects of Music on Pain

Abstract
Background:
Numerous meta-analyses have been conducted on the topic of music and pain, with the latest comprehensive study published in 2006. Since that time, more than 70 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been published, necessitating a new and comprehensive review.

Objective:
The aim of this meta-analysis was to examine published RCT studies investigating the effect of music on pain.

Methods:
The present study included RCTs published between 1995 and 2014. Studies were obtained by searching 12 databases and hand-searching related journals and reference lists. Main outcomes were pain intensity, emotional distress from pain, vital signs, and amount of analgesic intake. Study quality was evaluated according to the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines.

Results:
Analysis of the 97 included studies revealed that music interventions had statistically significant effects in decreasing pain on 0–10 pain scales (MD = –1.13), other pain scales (SMD = –0.39), emotional distress from pain (MD = –10.83), anesthetic use (SMD = –0.56), opioid intake (SMD = –0.24), non-opioid intake (SMD = –0.54), heart rate (MD = –4.25), systolic blood pressure (MD = –3.34), diastolic blood pressure (MD = –1.18), and respiration rate (MD =

SHORT FILMS ARE OVERTAKING MUSIC VIDEOS

Once upon a time, there was a period in our lives when the release of a brand spankin’ new music video (in TRL terms) from one of our favorite artists was a legitimate event, one that would often lead to iconic moments that were thus ingrained in our brain forever. The music video was the medium where artists and their chosen collaborators could give visual life to the song, focusing on its meaning or creative inspirations, while simultaneously vying for the success of the single.

Nowadays, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a music video that prioritizes artistic aspirations over commercial performance. More and more videos have flat concepts that are just aesthetically appealing enough for the average person to stream it once and get the song lodged in their heads. Artistic vision and innovativeness are just not essential anymore. But not all artists are falling for this trap, instead focusing on a new medium to execute their creative vision.

Now more than ever, musicians have been making short films in order to promote their projects. This format allows them to hone in on

Music Is Violence

In December, 1989, the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was expelled from power by American forces. To escape capture, he took refuge in the Papal Nunciatura in Panama City. When an American general arrived to confer with the papal nuncio, the U.S. Army blared music from loudspeakers to prevent journalists from eavesdropping. Members of a psychological-operations unit then decided that non-stop music might aggravate Noriega into surrendering. They made requests for songs on the local armed-forces radio station, and directed the din at Noriega’s window. The dictator was thought to prefer opera, and so hard rock dominated the playlist. The songs conveyed threatening, sometimes mocking messages: Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

Although the media delighted in the spectacle, President George H. W. Bush and General Colin Powell, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took a dim view of it. Bush called the campaign “irritating and petty,” and Powell had it stopped. Noriega, who had received psy­ops training at Fort Bragg in the nineteen-sixties, is said to have slept soundly through the clamor. Nonetheless, military and law-enforcement officials became convinced that they had stumbled on a

Benefits of Music Education

Whether your child is the next Beyonce or more likely to sing her solos in the shower, she is bound to benefit from some form of music education. Research shows that learning the do-re-mis can help children excel in ways beyond the basic ABCs.

More Than Just Music
Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas. “A music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is really bringing a very serious benefit to children as they progress into more formal learning,” says Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a not-for-profit association that promotes the benefits of making music.
Making music involves more than the voice or fingers playing an instrument; a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often simultaneously. For instance, people use their ears and eyes, as well as large and small muscles, says Kenneth Guilmartin, cofounder of Music Together, an early childhood music development program for infants through kindergarteners that involves parents or caregivers in the classes.
“Music learning supports all learning. Not that Mozart makes you smarter, but it’s

Music Can Change Your Brain

There’s little doubt that learning to play a musical instrument is great for developing brains.
Science has shown that when children learn to play music, their brains begin to hear and process sounds that they couldn’t otherwise hear. This helps them develop “neurophysiological distinction” between certain sounds that can aid in literacy, which can translate into improved academic results for kids.

Many parents probably read the above sentence and started mentally Google-ing child music classes in their local area. But if your kid doesn’t like learning an instrument or doesn’t actively engage in the class–opting to stare at the wall or doodle in a notebook instead of participating–he or she may not be getting all the benefits of those classes anyway.A new study from Northwestern University revealed that in order to fully reap the cognitive benefits of a music class, kids can’t just sit there and let the sound of music wash over them. They have to be actively engaged in the music and participate in the class. “Even in a group of highly motivated students, small variations in music engagement — attendance and class participation — predicted the strength of neural processing after music training,” said

Music as medicine

The beep of ventilators and infusion pumps, the hiss of oxygen, the whir of carts and the murmur of voices as physicians and nurses make rounds — these are the typical noises a premature infant hears spending the first days of life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). While the sounds of such life-saving equipment are tough to mute, a new study suggests that some sounds, such as lullabies, may soothe pre-term babies and their parents, and even improve the infants’ sleeping and eating patterns, while decreasing parents’ stress (Pediatrics, 2013).

Researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center’s Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine conducted the study, which included 272 premature babies 32 weeks gestation or older in 11 mid-Atlantic NICUs. They examined the effects of three types of music: a lullaby selected and sung by the baby’s parents; an “ocean disc,” a round instrument, invented by the Remo drum company, that mimics the sounds of the womb; and a gato box, a drum-like instrument used to simulate two-tone heartbeat rhythms. The two instruments were played live by certified music therapists, who matched their music to the babies’ breathing and heart rhythms.

The researchers found

Music on the Brain

It’s hard to exaggerate the effect music can have on the human brain. A mere snippet of song from the past can trigger memories as vivid as anything Proust experienced from the aroma of his petite madeleine. A tune can induce emotions ranging from unabashed joy to deep sorrow and can drive listeners into states of patriotic fervor or religious frenzy–to say nothing of its legendary ability to soothe the savage beast.

Yet in spite of music’s remarkable influence on the human psyche, scientists have spent little time attempting to understand why it possesses such potency. “We tend to think of music as an art or a cultural attribute,” notes Robert Zatorre, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, “but it is a complex human behavior that is as worthy of scientific study as any other.”

That’s why Zatorre helped organize a conference, “The Biological Foundations of Music,” sponsored last week by the New York Academy of Sciences, at which experts in disciplines ranging from neuroscience and neurology to brain imaging and psychology met to exchange notes about what’s known–and, more important, what remains to be learned–in this small but growing field.

What seems clear

Benefits Of Listening To Music

Music is a major part of our lives. The average person listens to it on a daily basis. From car rides home, to intense workouts in the gym, or even the tunes that play in the movies and TV shows we watch—we encounter music regularly. Most people enjoy listening to music and often state that they can’t live without it. But why is that?

Aside from the general pleasures music brings, it also provides several health benefits that many are unaware of.

1. Helps with exercising
Have you ever wondered why there is always music playing in the gym or why people can’t go on runs without their headphone? Simply put, music serves as the motivation to work out harder. It is also shown that listening to those top workout tracks can increase endurance during a tough exercise session. USA Today explains this works partly through the power of distraction: When we’re focusing on a favorite album, we may not notice that we just ran an extra mile.

2. Improves sleep quality
Listening to music has been shown to treat insomnia, especially in college students. Low and soft music works just as well as sleep-inducing

Music Changes the Way

Hum the first two notes of “The Simpsons” theme song. (If you’re not a Simpsons fan, “Maria” from West Side Story will also do.) The musical interval you’re hearing—the pitch gap between the notes—is known as a “tritone,” and it’s commonly recognized in music theory as one of the most dissonant intervals, so much so that composers and theorists in the 18th century dubbed it diabolus in musica (“devil in music”).

Now hum the first few notes of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or, if you prefer something with a little more street cred, the “I’m sorry” part in Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson.” This is the “perfect fifth.” It’s one of the most consonant intervals, used in myriad compositions as a vehicle of resolution and harmony.

Is it possible that hearing such isolated musical components can change the way you think? An ambitious new paper recently published by Jochim Hansen and Johann Melzner in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology argues precisely that. The researchers brought pedestrians into a laboratory and played them a short, stripped-down piece of music consisting of a series of alternating chords. Some people heard chords including the tritone; others the perfect fifth. A

5 Years of The House Presents

Salon-style multi-genre music events have been cropping up across Dublin, following the lead of the enormously successful Kaleidoscope Night. Current trends are taking this model and moving towards not just multi-genre but multi-disciplinary events: Listen at Arthur’s on Thomas Street has featured poetry readings and video footage alongside its central musical performances; Phonica at Jack Nealon’s on Capel Street has combined experimental poetry and music; and Staccato in Toner’s on Baggot Street focuses on spoken word supported by music.

These events all have two things in common – their dedication to presenting a combination of acts not normally seen together, and their setting, usually small bar or lounge spaces without formal staging and with an ‘intimate’ atmosphere. The line between participants and spectators is softened if not dissolved. In this way, city-centre venues try to replicate the feel and closeness of a small community gathering or a local session.
Where the artist and the audience are equal
The House Presents, established in 2012, brings this same atmosphere out of the city centre to a smaller, closer community. Annesley House, the bar that has hosted these monthly events for the past five years in North Strand in Dublin,

Defense of Rebecca Black

There’s a pretty good chance that you are one of the 63-million-plus (and counting) people who have watched 13-year-old Rebecca Black’s video version of “Friday,” a three-minute pop number recorded in January and posted on YouTube earlier this month. Rebecca Black is a California middle school student, not a professional singer, and “Friday” was written by two men who own a vanity recording studio in Los Angeles where, for $2,000, Rebecca Black’s parents paid for a video of their daughter performing the song. The Black family expected friends and relatives to see “Friday” on YouTube, and that was about it.

Until a show about the Internet called Tosh.0 offered a bilious review entitled “Songwriting Isn’t for Everyone” on March 11, and Rebecca Black, in the manner of modern social media, went viral. Within days, “Friday” had been seen by hundreds of thousands, and then tens of millions, of viewers. Song and singer have been the subject of coverage in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Forbes, and innumerable other outlets. And like the nearly one million comments posted (thus far) on YouTube, the reaction to Rebecca Black and “Friday” has been almost uniformly hostile. “Friday” has been described as “hilariously

Remember Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell’s passing left me sad, and not just because I enjoy his music. Campbell was the first celebrity I ever met: Not only was our encounter memorable but it struck me later as an amazingly instructive lesson for how a person should conduct oneself when faced with an awkward situation.

The year was 1970, my aunt and uncle had just bought a camper, and they took my three cousins, my sister, and me on a trip to Colorado. I was 5 years old.

I remember little about the trip other than how bizarre I found it to be so high in the mountains that I felt cold in the summer and how much fun it was to sleep in a tent with the brood. And I remember meeting Glen Campbell, who at the time was not only a country music artist but also the host of The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, a popular TV show my family watched every week.

One afternoon I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom, so my uncle pulled into the next service station and I ran out, alone, to the bathroom. While I was standing at

The Last Beatles Concert

It was 50 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught…wait, no, that’s not right. What was 50 years ago on Monday was the last time the Beatles took to a stage to perform a concert. It might be argued that the January 1969 London rooftop jam session was the Beatles’ last public performance, but their final concert proper was held August 29, 1966, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the end of a U.S. tour that had been as stressful and unpleasant as it had been brief.

You can’t blame the band for wanting to get off the road. Touring had long been a well-known drag. After the Beatles had performed in Stockholm, for example, John Lennon was asked what he thought of the trip. “Fine,” he said. “It was a room, a car, a concert and a sandwich.” There’s the road in all its glamor.

The Beatles had reason to feel the road wasn’t just a bore, but a dangerous bore. The backlash in the United States when Lennon floated the notion the Beatles were more popular than Jesus was nothing compared to the angry reaction when, in July 1966, the lads seemed to snub Imelda Marcos

Remember Tom Petty

C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley both died on the same day as the JFK assassination. It’s an odd bit of historical trivia that often gets cited to show how even important markers can get lost amid earth shattering news. It might be as stretch to compare Tom Petty to those intellectual titans, but it would also be a mistake to underestimate what a beloved figure he was. That Petty died in the wake of one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history seems somehow too coincidental not to notice.

It’s an especially cruel irony, because one of the reasons why Tom Petty was so beloved was that, beyond his musical output, Petty was the rare rock star who wanted all of the attention focused on his prodigious and worthy catalog of hits. Petty’s death at age 66 might be the one time where the attention deserved to be focused on the man himself, and that’s understandably very hard to do right now.

Over the course of a 40-plus-year career, the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers experienced some of the inevitable rock ‘n’ roll drama. One of the band’s bass players, Howie Epstein, died of a

Toscanini

“You are no good.” These were not the words Gregor Piatigorsky, a nervous performer, needed to hear as he warmed up before playing a concerto with the New York Philharmonic. The man who uttered them, the conductor Arturo Toscanini, then said, “I am no good.” The effect on Piatigorsky was immediate and lasting; writing about the incident some 30 years later, the cellist remembered wishing he had “died as a baby.” Nevertheless, he kept practicing, kept striving, hoping somehow, in the brief interval of time remaining, to change the maestro’s mind. “We are no good,” said Toscanini just before the two took the stage. “But the others,” he added, “are worse. Come on, caro, let’s go.”

For Toscanini (1867-1957), pursuing perfection was a matter of conscience. Here was the right way, the only way, of being a musician; any other was simply wrong. In this brilliant biography, Harvey Sachs delineates the guiding role of conscience in Toscanini’s life. Sachs writes from a position of unimpeachable authority: The present biography is his second of the conductor, whose letters he has also edited (2002) and about whom he has written a collection of essays (1991).

Mad for music

The Best Christmas Song

Very few songs have joined the Pop Christmas Canon in the last forty years with only two at present being considered for inclusion, in my estimation: The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” and Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne.” Both differ from most of the other songs in the oeuvre by the fact that neither can be remotely called a happy song: in Fairytale, a couple wistfully recounts their unraveling relationship—and their careers and lives as well—amidst the glory around them that is Christmas in New York City. In the “Same Old Au Sang Lyne,” the protagonist runs into an old flame in a convenience store on Christmas eve and they polish off a six-pack in his car while reminiscing.

Both have had a tremendous impact on me—soon after getting married I dragged my wife to New York for Christmas Eve, looking in vain for the NYPD Choir but still managing to have a romantic holiday just the same. And well before we married I took a woman on Christmas Eve to the same convenience store where Dan Fogelberg ran into his ex-beau (yet another advantage of being from Peoria) and split a six-pack in the parking

Rock-and-Roll

Joe Hagan has written what promises to be the standard biography of Jann Wenner—standard, because it’s hard to imagine anyone working up the energy to take another stab at it. Fifty years ago, at the age of 21, Wenner founded Rolling Stone magazine, and he’s been editor in chief ever since. Thanks to the anniversary, he has lately been much in the news. Not only has Hagan’s very long biography appeared, but so has a coffee-table book, 50 Years of Rolling Stone, a slab of self-congratulation recounting the magazine’s most celebrated articles and writers, with a not-humble introduction by Wenner. He has made the rounds on the chat shows, morning and evening. HBO, meanwhile, is airing a two-part, four-hour documentary, Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge, produced by Wenner and codirected by the gifted left-wing documentarian Alex Gibney. Altogether it is enough commotion to cause the average consumer of media to rear back and ask: “But why?”

As it happens, there are at least two answers to that question. One is that Wenner possesses superhuman powers of self-promotion. In the journalism business, it is usually the writers who leap onstage to gyrate and shimmy in hopes of

Frank Ocean Triumphs Without Even Trying

Frank Ocean offered two vital and contradictory performances in 2017. On the main stage, he once more played the guy sitting this one out—there he was, canceling headlining performances at major festivals around the world, ghosting on expectant audiences. If he did appear, he was wearing headphones, sometimes sitting down, and avoiding all eye contact: He didn’t cultivate a crowd so much as gather eavesdroppers. This is a maddening standby of his, one his fans depend on even as it denies them a chance to be near their hero. Without his serene indifference to stardom and any of its attendant demands, he wouldn’t be their hero.

Rapsody On Coexisting In Rap’s Power Gap

In music and the culture it reflects, 2017 was predictably unpredictable: idols fell, empires shook, consensus was scarce. This conversation is one of five with artists, makers and thinkers whose work captured something unique about a chaotic year, and hinted at bigger revelations around the bend.

On the morning I call Rapsody, two weeks before her album Laila’s Wisdom is to be nominated for a best rap album Grammy, she’s still in bed after a late night putting in work at the recording studio in Raleigh, N.C. “I usually get a little tea and honey to start my day,” she says. It doesn’t strike me as the makings of a typical power breakfast. Then again, Rapsody has become quite adept at challenging how power is perceived in 2017.

With Laila’s Wisdom — her sophomore album and first since partnering with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, named for a grandmother who insisted on getting her flowers while she was alive to smell them — Rapsody conveys a dimensionality that’s rare in a genre where flat characters abound. She rhymes tough but tender, philosophical and flirtatious, vulnerable yet aggressive, both in and out of love, while remaining lyrical at every