| A while back, in a talk I had with a friend, I brought up how peculiar it is that humans derive energy from very specific, mathematically linked arrangements of sound and movement. How is it that we enjoy one sequence of sounds in a given song yet are unnerved by a different series of also deliberately organized sounds as with discordant melody? This isn’t limited to sequences: an isolated stimulus like nails on a chalkboard can also elicit a negative response while a droning hum soothes. And visually, how is it that I cringe when I see someone dance awkwardly out of rhythm? Why is that so bad?
That friend then introduced me to the late Oliver Sacks who explored part of this subject, namely humans’ relationship with time and movements in pitch in his book Musicophilia . Why I bring this up is because I recently came across (and are now addicted to watching) these videos where a song is played in MIDI format and paired with the visual of streaming coloured bars that travel down the screen and are rhymically timed to connect with piano keys that light up with the same colour at the bottom and correspond to the different notes you hear. As I watched one video and then another and another of songs I like, I was fascinated with what was happening. Somehow seeing keys rapidly change colours and flash simultaneously at precise moments, my brain was comforted by the underlying logic and organization behind it all. At the same time I was intrigued by how inexplicable it was that notes of one song could move me in one way, yet another song that followed caused me to want to go back to the previous song because my brain thought it was a better use of my time. I still don’t know exactly why I like that other song. It could just be chemicals and disposition. Just is.
Below is one of these MIDI videos by Youtuber “midistar.” It’s of a song I came across watching a video of Youtuber Mychonny who I discovered through his hillarious “Asian Gangsters – Chinese vs Vietnamese.” This song (from one of mychonny’s other videos) played for only about 10 seconds but it was just the right formula to get me to download the whole thing and listen to it over and over again. That was about 4 months ago and I keep coming back to it.
Here’s the official music video for Super Beaver‘s (yes, that’s the band’s name) らしさ (Rashisa) from the anime ばらかもん (Barakamon) about a calligrapher who finds himself in some trouble and moves to the Goto islands off the coast of Kyushu where he encounters a colourful group of locals.
And there’s this Youtuber, ilonqueen, who took the song and put her musical twist on it which comes with Spanish lyrics.Asian Australian, asian diaspora, asian diaspora stories, human behavior, inter-asian relations, japan, japanese music, midistar, music, mychonny, oliver sacks, rashisa, science, super beaver, the brain