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Storytelling With Music (Ylotana Project)

Storytelling is, and always has been, a method of passing knowledge and information from generation to generation. It is an integral part of our heritage and you could even say that movies and shows are just another form of storytelling. However, there is something that continually draws us back to the original methods of sharing this knowledge. Music automatically makes us feel a certain way. One type of music might cause an emotional response that is dreamy and thoughtful, while another might make you feel angry, while yet another style of music can be uplifting and happy. It's possible to evoke an entire range of emotions simply by changing the beat and style. When storytelling is part of the equation, it's not uncommon to find music to be a big part of it. Even older books, contain numerous songs and ballads and, in fact, ballads were one of the original methods of telling a story. Rather than simply drone on, the storytellers turned their tales into a wondrous concert where the addition of music created more suspense, fear and excitement, turning it into something fascinating and wonderful.

These storytellers became so good at what they did that they became one of the chosen method of entertainment in banquet halls and throne rooms, spinning their tales to the accompaniment of a harp or lute, or other popular instrument of their day. Often, their short stories contained a moral that was reinforced with song. Later, opera became one of the more distinguished methods of recounting a story with a musical touch. To this day, the opera is a place where people tend to go for high-class entertainment. Mothers, when cradling their infants, sing of the day's events to their little ones, essentially telling them a story. We are conditioned from birth to respond to music, so it only makes sense that we would incorporate this into our stories. If you look at many children's films, they contain numerous songs and we've discovered that anyone, of any age, can retain information better if it is set to music, resulting in entire educational albums. All of this stems from the original method of passing information down, before we could write, putting it to music and repeating the old stories so they would be remembered by the next generation.

These days, technology has opened up the entire world to us and stories from every country can be shared. Set them to music and add visual art and you have a wonderful method of imparting your own stories to the world. With the advent of the Internet, it rapidly became possible to share video, text and audio. It's now possible to soak up knowledge from the entire globe and work together to create amazing pieces of musical art that carry stories across the Internet. There are several distinct methods of turning a story into something musical. It doesn't matter what the information to be shared is, or the style of music; whether alternative, classical or otherwise, each style has its own audience.

Text to Music: this is the simplest method of incorporating music into a story. Basically, someone reads the tale and music is added in. This can be done live or the voice can be recorded first and then the music added in. It is the most basic method of storytelling with music.

Songs: Going a step further, songs turn into lyrics, often with rhyme and this is one of the most common forms of storytelling. Nearly everyone listens to music with lyrics of some sort. It is a very obvious form of communication, though not all songs contain deep meaning and fascinating insights, the lyrics do tell a short story, if you really listen.

Visual Storytelling: This format doesn't require words at all and is a form of storytelling that can be understood in any language. A visual art message is set to music that enhances it. The visual part of the storytelling may be conceptual or abstract, depending on what is being conveyed and it is usually created to conform to the music that is added, changing as the music changes and enhancing the story that is told in musical notes. Another form of this is interpretive dancing, where the body acts out the story as the music plays.
New Inroads

Lately, there has been a new movement in the world of storytelling. Rather than simply use the methods above, some creative minds have come up with other methods. The biggest and probably most likely to become popular is using actual paper or picture books to go with music that is being listened to. The possibilities are endless here, a book that plays music as you flip through it might not be as popular yet in the offline world, but if you are looking at an eBook or website that guides you through the emotions of the story with carefully placed music, it is far easier to find and enjoy.

Music works with storytelling. People have always used song and dance to help convey meaning and tales, even when dealing with entirely different cultures that didn't speak their language. While we do have other methods of communication nowadays, there's still something about music that holds the attention far longer than anything else and it stays with us, making this the ideal addition to the ancient art of storytelling.

It's quite simple. We remember things set to music. We enjoy listening to something when there is music that we like involved and this makes it perfect for conveying any message, no matter what it is that you want to say...from a simple fairy tale to a more complex political rant, everything goes better with music.

Relaxation Magic - Hypnosis, Meditation, Visualization

Hypnosis, meditation and visualization are three similar processes for accessing a creative area of the sub-conscious mind. Relaxation Magic lessons use a combination of all three therapies for maximum results. With the exception of people who have mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and severe retardation, everyone can achieve the relaxed focus of hypnosis, meditation and visualization by themselves.

Within themselves everyone has their own unique solutions for solving a situation they want to work on

The way I work is to help a person first reach a relaxed state and then through visualizations find personal imagery to explore their situation. One reason I feel hypnosis, meditation and visualization are so potent for problem solving is that areas of stress can be reached indirectly through analogies and a situation can be discussed without causing more discomfort

Recent research is confirming how connected the mind is in creating and eliminating physical problems. Physicians can fix the body but the mind can create the situation again. This is why adding the mind to a health program is the optimum method for total healing.
The first step to being in control of your life is being in control of your mind. If you're not controlling your thoughts, who is?

Meditation and visualization enable you to communicate with your physical body, to relax mental and muscle tension even regulate autonomous body systems. Documentation has been out for years that meditation masters can control their heart rate and body temperature. Perhaps we will never need to use body heat to dry wet robes in frigid weather but being in peaceful control of ourselves mentally and physically is an ideal goal.

Where to start

When brand new at any endeavor it is always best to start at the beginning. To experience maximum results with the advanced Active Visualization Lesson spend the ten to fifteen minutes daily building your mental muscles with the beginning lessons.

Be Relaxed Anytime Anywhere and Recognizing & Reprogramming Self Defeating Behaviors lessons may be utilized without first completing the beginning lessons.

Breathe, breathe, breathe I can't say it enough. The ultimate quickest way to relax is to breathe.

Details - Time, Setting, Clothing, Posture

What time of day is best to practice is whenever it will best fit your schedule. For beginners to make meditation a habit it is recommended to set a definite time. This way if you miss your meditation appointment you are aware of the omission and can reschedule with yourself before the day is over.

When beginning to meditate, it is good to have a routine or ritual. Routine and ritual will key the mind into what is going to follow. The routine / ritual can be simple or elaborate, whatever suits your personality.

A basic routine is deciding to relax and meditate every day at the same time and in the same setting. Meditating in the same place when starting is also helpful to develop habit and focus.

The optimum setting is one that is comfortable and quiet with minimum distractions obviously away from telephones, TV, adults or children interrupting. Some meditators have to compromise on comfort to gain quiet. I know people who meditate in their bathroom or garage to access quiet time. You might want to try several locations before settling on your favorite. If you are interrupted, just acknowledge what is happening and return to your practice when possible. Eventually you will be able to be in a light meditative state anywhere, even with your eyes open.

Ritual can be as simple as just knowing it is the time that you decided to meditate and going to your meditation place. Or, you can elaborate and use candles, incense, crystals and other background objects that aid your sensation of peace or power. I do not recommend using music during meditation as your mind will listen to the music instead of focusing. Keeping brief notes or a journal on your daily sessions is also recommended.

It is best to wear non-restrictive clothing with as much natural fiber as possible. Loosen belts, ties and if possible remove shoes and socks for some styles.

Sit however is comfortable for you. If you enjoy sitting with a pillow on the floor, go for it. It is also perfectly acceptable to sit with a straight back in a chair and let the chair support your back. (I sit in a chair with my back supported and my legs crossed under me.) Your legs do not need to be crossed and the feet can rest on the floor. Observe the position of your shoulders, neck and head. Relax your shoulders down and lengthen them straight out. Relax your neck muscles. Feel that your head is balanced and centered on your neck. Image that your head is a fish bowl and if it is tipped forward or back, you will spill water and fish out! Check if your jaw is relaxed by allowing the lower jaw to drop slightly.

Breathe through your nose. Begin each lesson observing a few breathes expanding the abdomen on the inhale and contracting the abdomen on the exhale. More detailed breathing instructions are given in the Zen lesson.

How long to meditate? A ten to fifteen minute meditation session will give you results. If you choose to meditate longer, it is because you enjoy the activity (or should I say non-activity). Greater results are not necessarily achieved by time spent in practice as much as your consistency and concentration during practice. Decide how long your meditation will be. Choose whatever works best for you to time the session. Set a timer to ring when your session ends or tell your mind to alert you when the set time has passed. Eventually your mind will know precisely when your set time is up. Do not use this method until you have perfected it if you are on a tight schedule.

During mediation and visualization you will be aware of any outer physical situation that requires your immediate attention.

Mediation is a state of heightened awareness not of unconsciousness.

Excerpt from Relaxation Magic:Hypnosis, meditation and visualization are three similar processes for accessing a creative area of the sub-conscious mind. Relaxation Magic lessons use a combination of all three therapies for maximum results. With the exception of people who have mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and severe retardation, everyone can achieve the relaxed focus of hypnosis, meditation and visualization by themselves.

Within themselves everyone has their own unique solutions for solving a situation they want to work on

The way I work is to help a person first reach a relaxed state and then through visualizations find personal imagery to explore their situation. One reason I feel hypnosis, meditation and visualization are so potent for problem solving is that areas of stress can be reached indirectly through analogies and a situation can be discussed without causing more discomfort

Recent research is confirming how connected the mind is in creating and eliminating physical problems. Physicians can fix the body but the mind can create the situation again. This is why adding the mind to a health program is the optimum method for total healing.
The first step to being in control of your life is being in control of your mind. If you're not controlling your thoughts, who is?

Meditation and visualization enable you to communicate with your physical body, to relax mental and muscle tension even regulate autonomous body systems. Documentation has been out for years that meditation masters can control their heart rate and body temperature. Perhaps we will never need to use body heat to dry wet robes in frigid weather but being in peaceful control of ourselves mentally and physically is an ideal goal.

Where to start

When brand new at any endeavor it is always best to start at the beginning. To experience maximum results with the advanced Active Visualization Lesson spend the ten to fifteen minutes daily building your mental muscles with the beginning lessons.

Be Relaxed Anytime Anywhere and Recognizing & Reprogramming Self Defeating Behaviors lessons may be utilized without first completing the beginning lessons.

Breathe, breathe, breathe I can't say it enough. The ultimate quickest way to relax is to breathe.

Details - Time, Setting, Clothing, Posture

What time of day is best to practice is whenever it will best fit your schedule. For beginners to make meditation a habit it is recommended to set a definite time. This way if you miss your meditation appointment you are aware of the omission and can reschedule with yourself before the day is over.

When beginning to meditate, it is good to have a routine or ritual. Routine and ritual will key the mind into what is going to follow. The routine / ritual can be simple or elaborate, whatever suits your personality.

A basic routine is deciding to relax and meditate every day at the same time and in the same setting. Meditating in the same place when starting is also helpful to develop habit and focus.

The optimum setting is one that is comfortable and quiet with minimum distractions obviously away from telephones, TV, adults or children interrupting. Some meditators have to compromise on comfort to gain quiet. I know people who meditate in their bathroom or garage to access quiet time. You might want to try several locations before settling on your favorite. If you are interrupted, just acknowledge what is happening and return to your practice when possible. Eventually you will be able to be in a light meditative state anywhere, even with your eyes open.

Ritual can be as simple as just knowing it is the time that you decided to meditate and going to your meditation place. Or, you can elaborate and use candles, incense, crystals and other background objects that aid your sensation of peace or power. I do not recommend using music during meditation as your mind will listen to the music instead of focusing. Keeping brief notes or a journal on your daily sessions is also recommended.

It is best to wear non-restrictive clothing with as much natural fiber as possible. Loosen belts, ties and if possible remove shoes and socks for some styles.

Sit however is comfortable for you. If you enjoy sitting with a pillow on the floor, go for it. It is also perfectly acceptable to sit with a straight back in a chair and let the chair support your back. (I sit in a chair with my back supported and my legs crossed under me.) Your legs do not need to be crossed and the feet can rest on the floor. Observe the position of your shoulders, neck and head. Relax your shoulders down and lengthen them straight out. Relax your neck muscles. Feel that your head is balanced and centered on your neck. Image that your head is a fish bowl and if it is tipped forward or back, you will spill water and fish out! Check if your jaw is relaxed by allowing the lower jaw to drop slightly.

Breathe through your nose. Begin each lesson observing a few breathes expanding the abdomen on the inhale and contracting the abdomen on the exhale. More detailed breathing instructions are given in the Zen lesson.

How long to meditate? A ten to fifteen minute meditation session will give you results. If you choose to meditate longer, it is because you enjoy the activity (or should I say non-activity). Greater results are not necessarily achieved by time spent in practice as much as your consistency and concentration during practice. Decide how long your meditation will be. Choose whatever works best for you to time the session. Set a timer to ring when your session ends or tell your mind to alert you when the set time has passed. Eventually your mind will know precisely when your set time is up. Do not use this method until you have perfected it if you are on a tight schedule.

During mediation and visualization you will be aware of any outer physical situation that requires your immediate attention.

Mediation is a state of heightened awareness not of unconsciousness.

Excerpt from Relaxation Magic:
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Visualization and the Law of Attraction: If You Cannot See It, How Can You Attract It?

When one of my friends was a child, just eight years old, she wanted to live on a farm. This was because of reading books about horses and farms, and she told me she would visualize her horse running alongside the school bus on her ride home every day from school. At twelve, she was drawing her house, her pastures, and her barn out on graph paper and to scale. When her parents were divorced, she tells me that she used those drawings and the three dimensional farm she pictured, with corn growing, a tree swing, a wooded path, and horses in the green pasture to give her comfort during some painful times.

Through college, a marriage that didn't work out, some financially difficult times, she kept this vision, never letting go of the dream. You know that I am going to tell you that she did get her farm, and she is still there today, taking in and caring for older horses. The how- she- got- there- story is a longer, more circuitous tale, but here is the important message: she began a visualization journey, sending out her desire to the Universe as she built and grew the image in her mind and thereby attracting what she wanted in her life. Her personal vision gave her comfort in tough times and peace when times were OK. She didn't know exactly how to get there, but she sure knew she would, somehow, someday.

Visualization is a key aspect of the Law of Attraction. Psychology, meditation, coaches and transformation specialists all use this tool in their practice to help transport us, change us and give us peace. It has been said that visualization is the bridge, the mechanism by which our inner world is linked with the outer world. Once this bridge is in place, it will be possible for your inner world to flow smoothly into the outer world all around you. Here are a few ideas to help you see what it is you really desire:

Use all your senses: If it is that top job in your company you want, then ask yourself what it would be like to be the position you want. What view would you see from your corner picture window office? Can you smell the leather of your big office chair? Do you appreciate the respect given to you and give it back to others? What would you be wearing and doing, how would you "be" in this job? How would you interact with others?

Use music: Music is an incredibly powerful emotional stimulus. You have felt this yourself when you hear a love song from when you first fell in love, a patriotic song during the 4th of July, calming classical music when you need peace, or lively jazz that makes you want to dance. Pick a musical piece that helps you visualize what you desire, and play it while you visualize your dream. In time, your images and the music will paint a fantastic vision.

Use movement: Both in your visualization and in the "real" world, movement makes the visual-sensual picture come alive. Maybe your dream is to see the world. Feel yourself moving along in the jet, hiking on the Napali Coast, walking through St. Petersburg, photographing zebras in the wild. In the real world, dance, yoga, working out and other forms of body movement are great ways to put your body in the perfect zone for visualization.

Use your emotions: Visualization is more than just painting a picture in our mind. We must attach emotions to that picture. When you are in the job of your dreams, do you feel power, achievement, ambition? When you have money to spend, do you experience relief, excitement, opportunity? When you are traveling the world, is it awe, wonder, appreciation that runs through you? Whatever your vision, you can make it a more real and powerful message by accompanying it with your real and true emotions.

Use resources: Having trouble getting the details down in your vision? Get online or go to the library and research your dream. If it is travel, then there are plenty of visuals out there for you to reference. If it is money, why not find a few examples of what people do with their money? Maybe it is the farm my friend dreamed about - find a coffee table book on beautiful farms. Or better yet, walk down a country road!

Use flexibility: You may find as you try these visualization tips that what you thought you wanted isn't really what you want at all. Yet many of the people I work with discover the initial vision was really just a step on the way to a bigger, more meaningful and more satisfying dream.

With a clear, colorful, emotional, sensual picture in your mind, you are sending out energy that will attract your deepest desires. Dreams really can come true.

Meditation MP3, Relaxation Music, or New Age CDs - Which is Best for Creative Visualization?

Listening to music is one of life's great pleasures, enjoyable not just for the sounds themselves or the artistry that creates them, but also for the mental and emotional states music helps us reach. The music industry has responded to our need to relax and reduce stress by producing special recordings to soothe our frazzled nerves, but a meditation MP3 can do much more than relaxation music. These sophisticated recordings can connect us with powerful inner talents that have been lying dormant for years, waiting to be unleashed.

The Tremendous Power of Music for Creative Visualization

If you're interested in this topic at all, there's a good chance that, like me, you've listened to a fair amount of instrumental, "New Age" CDs in your time. Names like Kitaro, Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Andreas Vollenweider, Yanni, etc. will be familiar to you. I always preferred instrumental music over vocals, as the vocals distracted me from visualizing whatever it was I wanted to concentrate on. Although I enjoyed music in its own right, I freely confess that I have long used it as a tool, helping me to forget about quotidian problems and focus on a better future. And it works! Music is very, very powerful when you learn to ride the waves of emotion that can be generated by particularly resonant recordings. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was actually using music to alter my state of consciousness.

What is the Difference between a Meditation MP3 and Relaxation Music?

Relaxation music is generally not designed to be an emotional roller-coasters at all. Its main objective is to help us relax and relieve stress, an important goal in the modern world to be sure, but a somewhat limited one nonetheless. Typically, such recordings feature soothing nature sounds such as waves crashing on a shoreline with seabirds calling out overhead, whale songs, or a waterfall or rainstorm in some imaginary, moss-covered rain forest in the Pacific Northwest. There are even more esoteric recordings based on "space sounds" - electro-magnetic waves detected by the Voyager and other space probes. Such recordings can definitely help us achieve a relaxed, Alpha state, wherein the brain's dominant frequency slows down and becomes more powerful. This can be very beneficial in combating hypertension, and opens the door to deeper levels of the mind. But it is only the beginning of what is possible with sound today.

The Meditation MP3 Revolution - Towards Complete Mind Control

Meditation MP3s are more than just music. While they generally do feature some kind of instrumental music, which may be classical, New Age, or traditional relaxation fare as discussed above, they include specially-designed tones that are intended to encourage the listener's brain to operate at a particular frequency. It has long been known that the brain exhibits a frequency-following response, tending to mimic the wave forms of sensory stimuli. Sound waves are the easiest way to harness this phenomenon to our advantage, and a raft of brainwave entrainment recordings has resulted. The specific techniques employed include binaural beats, monaural beats, and isochronic tones.

These special recordings can be used to take you places far beyond the reach of ordinary New Age CDs or relaxation music, entraining sound frequencies that are below the normal range of the human ear (20Hz - 20 KHz) and which correspond to the Alpha, Theta, or Delta brainwaves associated with the subconscious and the unconscious mind. Even the more exotic waves discovered quite recently, like Gamma and Lambda waves, can be entrained with a well-engineered meditation MP3.

For the purposes of creative visualization, a meditation MP3 targeting the Theta wave, or the boundary region between Alpha and Theta, can be extremely effective, as the mind is particularly receptive to "reprogramming" in this state. (For more on Theta, see my companion article here on Ezines, Exploring Theta Waves - The Exciting Implications of Theta Brain Waves for Learning and Memory.) The right recording can get you to this state in as little as 10 - 15 minutes, and what you do once you get there is entirely up to you!

Communion With The Infinite - The Visual Music of the Shipibo Tribe of the Amazon

The Magical Art of the Shipibo People of the Upper Amazon

Underlying the intricate geometric patterns of great complexity displayed in the art of the Shipibo people is a concept of an all pervading magical reality which can challenge the Western linguistic heritage and rational mind.

These patterns are more than an expression of the one-ness of creation, the inter-changeability of light and sound, the union or fusion of perceived opposites, it is an ongoing dialogue or communion with the spiritual world and powers of the Rainforest. The visionary art of the Shipibo brings this paradigm into a physical form. The Ethnologist Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, calls this "visual music".

The Shipibo are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Peruvian Amazon. These ethnic groups each have their own languages, traditions and culture. The Shipibo which currently number about 20,000 are spread out in communities through the Pucallpa / Ucayali river region. They are highly regarded in the Amazon as being masters of Ayahuasca, and many aspiring shamans and Ayahuasqueros from the region study with the Shipibo to learn their language, chants, and plant medicine knowledge.

All the textile painting, embroidery, and artisan craft is carried out by the women. From a young age the Shipibo females are initiated by their mothers and grandmothers into this practice. Teresa a Shipiba who works with us on our Amazon Retreats tells that "when I was a young girl, my mother squeezed drops of the Piripiri (a species of Cyperus sp.) berries into my eyes so that I would have the vision for the designs; this is only done once and lasts a lifetime".

The intricate Shipibo designs have their origin in the non-manifest and ineffable world in the spirit of the Rainforest and all who live there. The designs are a representation of the Cosmic Serpent, the Anaconda, the great Mother, creator of the universe called Ronin Kene. For the Shipibo the skin of Ronin Kene has a radiating, electrifying vibration of light, colour, sound, movement and is the embodiment of all possible patterns and designs past, present, and future. The designs that the Shipibo paint are channels or conduits for this multi-sensorial vibrational fusion of form, light and sound. Although in our cultural paradigm we perceive that the geometric patterns are bound within the border of the textile or ceramic vessel, to the Shipibo the patterns extend far beyond these borders and permeate the entire world.

One of the challenges for the Western mind is to acknowledge the relationship between the Shipibo designs and music. For the Shipibo can "listen" to a song or chant by looking at the designs, and inversely paint a pattern by listening to a song or music.

As an astonishing demonstration of this I witnessed two Shipiba paint a large ceremonial ceramic pot known as a Mahuetá. The pot was nearly five feet high and had a diameter of about three feet, each of the Shipiba couldn't see what the other was painting, yet both were whistling the same song, and when they had finished both sides of the complex geometric pattern were identical and matched each side perfectly.

The Shipibo designs are traditionally carried out on natural un-dyed cotton (which they often grow themselves) or on cotton dyed in mahogany bark (usually three or four times) which gives the distinctive brown colour. They paint either using a pointed piece of chonta (bamboo) or an iron nail with the juice of the crushed Huito (Genipa americana) berry fruits which turns into a blue- brown-black dye once exposed to air.

Each of the designs are unique, even the very small pieces, and they cannot be commercially or mass produced. In Lima I met with a woman who had set up a government funded community project which amongst other matters established a collective for the Shipibo to sell their artisan work and paintings. She tells that a major USA corporation (Pier 1 Imports), enamoured by these designs ordered via the project twenty thousand textiles with the same design, this order could never be fulfilled, the Shipibo could simply not comprehend the concept of replicating identical designs.

The Shipibo believe that our state of health (which includes physical and psychological) is dependent on the balanced union between mind, spirit and body. If an imbalance in this occurs such as through emotions of envy, hate, anger, this will generate a negative effect on the health of that person. The shaman will re-establish the balance by chanting the icaros which are the geometric patterns of harmony made manifest in sound into the body of the person. The shaman in effect transforms the visual code into an acoustic code.

A key element in this magical dialogue with the energy which permeates creation and is embedded in the Shipibo designs is the work with ayahuasca by the Shipibo shamans or muraya. In the deep ayahuasca trance, the ayahuasca reveals to the shaman the luminous geometric patterns of energy. These filaments drift towards the mouth of the shaman where it metamorphoses into a chant or icaro. The icaro is a conduit for the patterns of creation which then permeate the body of the shaman's patient bringing harmony in the form of the geometric patterns which re-balances the patient's body. The vocal range of the Shipibo shaman's when they chant the icaros is astonishing, they can range from the highest falsetto one moment to a sound which resembles a thumping pile driver, and then to a gentle soothing melodic lullaby. Speaking personally of my experience with this, is a feeling that every cell in my body is floating and embraced in a nurturing all-encompassing vibration, even the air around me is vibrating in acoustic resonance with the icaro of the maestro. The shaman knows when the healing is complete as the design is clearly distinct in the patient's body. It make take a few sessions to complete this, and when completed the geometric healing designs are embedded in the patient's body, this is called an Arkana. This internal patterning is deemed to be permanent and to protect a person's spirit.

Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, Professor of Ethnology, University of Marburg writes that "Essentially, Shipibo-Conibo therapy is a matter of visionary design application in connection with aura restoration, the shaman heals his patient through the application of a visionary design, every person feels spiritually permeated and saturated with designs. The shaman heals his patient through the application of the song-design, which saturates the patients' body and is believed to untangle distorted physical and psycho-spiritual energies, restoring harmony to the somatic, psychic and spiritual systems of the patient. The designs are permanent and remain with a person's spirit even after death.".

Whilst it is not easy for Westerner's to enter and engage with the world view of the Shipibo which has been developed far away from our linguistic structures and psychological models, there is an underlying sophisticated and complex symbolic language embedded in these geometric patterns. The main figures in the Shipibo designs are the square, the rhombus, the octagon, and the cross. The symmetry of the patterns emanating from the centre (which is our world) is a representation of the outer and inner worlds, a map of the cosmos. The cross represents the Southern Cross constellation which dominates the night sky and divides the cosmos into four quadrants, the intersection of the arms of the cross is the centre of the universe, and becomes the cosmic cross. The cosmic cross represents the eternal spirit of a person and the union of the masculine and feminine principles the very cycle of life and death which reminds us of the great act of procreation of not only the universe, but also of humanity, and our individual selves.

The smaller flowing patterns within the geometric forms are the radiating power of the Cosmic Serpent which turns this way and that, betwixt and between constantly creating the universe as it moves. The circles are often a direct representation of the Cosmic Anaconda, and within the circle itself is the central point of creation.

In the Western tradition, from the Pythagoreans, and Plato through the Renaissance music was used to heal the body and to elevate the soul. It was also believed that earthly music was no more than a faint echo of the universal 'harmony of the spheres'. This view of the harmony of the universe was held both by artists and scientists until the mechanistic universe of Newton.

Joseph Campbell the foremost scholar of mythology suggests that there is a universe of harmonic vibrations which the human collective unconscious has always been in communion with. Our beings beat to the ancient rhythms of the cosmos. The traditional ways of the Shipibo and other indigenous peoples still reflect the primal rhythm, and their perception of the universal forces made physical is truly a communion with the infinite.

Howard G. Charing, is an accomplished international workshop leader on shamanism. He has worked some of the most respected and extraordinary shamans & healers in the Andes, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Philippines. He organises specialist retreats to the Amazon Rainforest at the dedicated centre located in the Mishana nature reserve. He is the author of the best selling book, Plant Spirit Shamanism (Destiny Books USA), and has published numerous articles about plant medicines. He was baptised into the Shipibo tribe of the Upper Amazon, and initiated into the lineage of the shamans of the Rio Napo. Howard is also an artist who's paintings have featured in major exhibitions in London and elsewhere. His artwork has also been featured on book covers.

Shapes of Music - Visual Art and Music

An artist has the privilege of communicating to you visually. Sometimes he wants to share his believes in a few words.

The new 'Visual Grammar', developed by the European Avant-gard of the 20s, particularly by the Russian Avant-gard, - namely by Vasiliy Kandinsky, as well as the Classical heritage from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance - is a stepping stone for my own research in art.

What I do, is build composition on that stepping stone on the foundation of Visual Grammar, shaped by classical and modern schools, and than fill it in with content that is more emotional than intellectual, at this stage compelling rational tools to yield to intuition. It is like a rigid skeleton surrounded with a soft living tissue.

I do believe that the spiritual - ideal - objective model forms our real Reality.

So-called 'realism' is an ill defined term commonly attributed to art focused on depicting visible surfaces of material objects. This is an indication and a result of an incomplete, even defective, mental horizon, a primitive materialistic view on reality reduced to a small fraction of the physical world -- that only fraction, which can be seen or touched.
I must note here, that many great pieces of art labeled with this word, do not fall into this ill-defined category.

A pure abstract art, which is closer to me because it deals with a more important part of Reality than the matter, specifically with the ideas and pure forms, seams to be deficient too. I believe that the total elimination of material objects as a class from paintings not only impoverishes the artist's 'toolbox', but is the consequence and indication of a one-sided approach to (the) Reality -- this time, a purely idealistic one, almost coincident with Plato's concept, who saw the changing physical world as a poor, decaying copy of a perfect one.

Yes, abstract art most certainly delivered great masterpieces to humanity in 20th century. And I cannot but agree with Roger Fry's statement: "The form of a work of art has a meaning of its own and the contemplation of the form in and for itself gives rise in some people to a special emotion which does not depend upon the association of the form with anything else whatsoever." But it doesn't mean that a self-sufficient form cannot be turned into a recognizable object.

By the way, an original definition of a widespread term - Visual Music - was coined by Roger Fry in 1912 to describe the work of Kandinsky, meaning the translation of music to painting.

Regarding intuitivism, or any theory stating that the creative process is solely an act of genius, spontaneous and purely emotional, it wouldn't be worth even discussing, were it not so widespread an assumption. I personally have heard from several artists, one art critic and several art dealers that the intellectual and physical aspects in the creative process (i.e. ideas and techniques) are only boring limitations, and an inevitable evil to creativity. I believe this started as an opposition to the dry, actually degrading academism or 'classicism' of the mid 19th century. It (could) may have started when some of the leaders of the Impressionist movement openly rejected the 'old grammar', emphasizing the importance of a direct impression and spontaneous, emotional reaction of an artist to that impression in a creative process. But almost all of the artists of that period had a solid 'classical' training prior to this rejection; they inherited all the goods possessed by that domain, they inherited the basic visual grammar even on subconscious levels, which cannot be said about many of their followers in 20th century, who even now keep questioning the importance of basic training in visual arts, as well as the power of the analytical, deductive component in art making.

Avant-grad Movement of the first third of the century came in as a gust of fresh air, filling in the vacuum left by an already dead Academism and degrading impressionism. It not only restored the position of intellectual tools in the arts, but also dramatically expanded the borders of visual arts to unprecedented levels. I'd like to emphasize here, that very similar and radical processes were taking place at that very period around the world in the social spheres, in science and industry, in architecture and literature, and of course in music.

Having said that, I'd like to summarize what all this means to me and to my art:

1. A solid abstract and, if need be, mathematically described foundation of composition is a must (to be present) in my work.

2. An object must to be presented in my artwork, for I do not share a purely idealistic ( in Plato style) approach to (the) Reality, which, to my mind, ultimately leads to the mental Uncreation of the world.

3. My work has to be a fusion of both aspects, ideal and material, blended together by a third - spiritual force.
In this respect, music, which is very abstract, and musicians with their beautiful instruments, who are so "real", are perfect subjects for my exercises. Moreover, music and visual arts have a lot in common.I cannot help from mentioning at least some categories that are common to both:

Rhythm - it's very obvious: duration / length / frequencies, including and forming (or formed by) negative spaces / pauses / absence / silence - all are common to both fields.

Proportions - harmonic proportions and derivatives from them, commonly described in mathematical terms, starting with very basic, discovered by Pythagoras- 1:2, 2:3, 3:4, 1:1- discovered specifically on the acoustic / musical territory (please note, that these are basic proportions of canvases one can buy in an art supplies store) and then going further to the Fibonacci series which have their limit in the irrational Golden Ratio.

The temperature (cold / hot) of sounds and colours. This idea is still considered to be controversial, yet it is obvious that sounds and colours can be warmer or cooler. Less obvious is an exact scientific correlation between them.

Movement - ascending, descending, elliptic etc. Musicians do not need an explanation of this, and neither do artists. Please have a look at my study of ascending and descending movements in the elliptic composition of the very first picture on my home page, titled the 'Trio".

All of these categories sound (or look!) familiar to both musicians and visual artists, don't they?

We can talk about background sounds and colours, about a sound being like a ray emerging from a particular starting point and fading away, or like a part of an endless line going from eternity to eternity. We could mention intensity / saturation of the tones in the both fields, we could dedicate a chapter to the theory of contrasts, for example between 'low' and 'deep' continuous sound or form and a sharp 'stroke' of a sound or a paint.

On the human capacity to see sounds and hear colours I would recommend, once again, Vasiliy Kandinsky Synaesthesia.

Another fascinating subject is the Counterpoint Concept (as known as Contrapunkt), which defines relationship between two or more different parts of a piece, which are somewhat independent, say, in rhythm, but are interdependent in harmony. This powerful instrument, in my opinion, has been much less understood, appreciated and used in visual arts than in music.

I drew these parallels on the very basic or fundamental level for both arts. But, as a part of Life, they are constantly changing (I hate the term 'still life' or 'nature mort', for life cannot be still or 'mort' by definition), developing, progressing or, unfortunately, regressing. I find a lot in common between modern scientific thinking (Relativistic Theory, Quantum Theory, Expanding Universe Model, String Theory etc.), modern art.

Finally, I am attempting two things: to explore reality, including but not limited to it's 'visible' fraction, and to take part in shaping it. This, I believe, is ultimately the essence of any creative process.

"We shall therefore borrow all our Rules for the Finishing our Proportions, from the Musicians, who are the greatest Masters of this Sort of Numbers, and from those Things wherein Nature shows herself most excellent and compleat." - Leon Battista Alberti (1407-1472)

I am an artist.

I have the privilege of communicating to you visually.

CD Music Sales Based on Album Artwork, Cover Design

Have you ever purchased a CD solely based on the cover design, or been attracted to an artist, band, producer or record label based on their logo, poster or web site? I know I have many times

While it's true that browsing for CD's from major distributor store outlets like Towers Records has ended because people are using online music services for CD orders and individual song downloads, cover images are still being used to identify music on web sites, and some store outlets like FYE, Walmart, and others still have music sections where people browse CD's and DVDs.

Print and web design in the music industry is really about identity. What our audience, potential customer or client can expect to hear, feel, experience, or identify with is communicated visually. Although I will primarily be using CD design examples here, what I'm sharing can also apply to DVD and web design for music projects (especially with writers and performing artists making songs available for downloading on our own web sites).

I'm wearing two hats while writing this article: a songwriter and visual communications professional, so I'm writing with my feet planted in both worlds.

A talented designer understands the power of text (typography) and images, and knows how to use them creatively. The best creative professional for your project is well-trained, familiar with the industry, your audience, and makes design decisions based on accomplishing specific objectives. A primary CD design objective is selling your music to customers or music industry professionals (e.g., securing a producer, crew, record label or other distributor through a demo).

Design plays a part in purchase decisions. When browsing for CD's, we usually pick up what visually attracts us and then look at the listed songs, unless we are looking for a specific artist or title. This process is the way a person gets a feel for the CD artist, mood, and vibe; and ultimately, hopes to be satisfied that the CD delivers what the design and titles suggest.

The first time I purchased music based on the design was an album called "Sky Islands" by a group called Caldera. The album cover has a colorful picture of a volcano (caldera) erupting and I got the feeling the music by this group would erupt as powerfully as that volcano. As it turned out, the Latin-Jazz fusion album did. The cover design got me to buy it.

After that, I bought two CD's: Count Basic, "Trust Your Instincts" (see CD cover image provided), and Marilyn Scott, "Avenues of Love". What grabbed me on the Count Basic cover was the woman's face bolstered by the low cut dress she wore showcasing her significant cleavage, and a man behind her giving two major thumbs up! I wanted to be that woman.

As for Marilyn Scott, she is standing alone on a rocky shore, looking pensively at the ground, barefooted, wearing what looks like a full-length camel hair coat. The image paired with the title created an appealing pensive and serene mood, and I was stirred to buy it.

I was totally pleased with both purchases though they're quite different. Chalk up two more sales due to an energy, style, essence or visual message captured in an image that attracted me to the artist and the music.

Let the Music Take Your Mind

Music isn't defined as visual art, but sound does create mental imagery. Music videos wouldn't exist if this weren't true. One of the reasons I'm not glued to MTV or other music video networks, is that I prefer to give my mind complete freedom to conjure its own images in response to music. Music package design (CD and DVD) is a hors d'oeuvre, an invitation, and a precursor to a total sound experience-perhaps even a story or journey. When you work with a designer (or do it yourself), it's important to record the imagery in your mind to help the creative direction along. It's also good for the designer to listen to the music, so there's a healthy amount of imagery to feed the creative process. Between the two, a wealth of visual ideas will emerge.

Count the Ways

Music professionals use graphic design in specific ways and have definite ideas about what they want the designs to accomplish. Take Neil Alexander (leader for his band, Nail, and former keyboardist for The Machine, America's premier Pink Floyd tribute band).

Neil is primarily a performer/composer, but is also active in engineering, production and programming, and has P-Dog Records, an independent record label he uses to release his own discs.

He has a logo, stationery, CD packaging for his releases, packaging for a CD business card, posters to launch new releases, press releases, and a web site from which people can purchase directly. "I have always found that how CD packaging looks is a big part of its impact, its connection with the listener. Logos and other symbols can become part of the performer's identity. It is in my case. As with any business, consistent graphics help define the company's image and products for the consumer," Neil stated.

As for a strong web site, Neil had this to say: "A solid web presence is very important these days. Information (text, audio and visual) must be well organized and clearly presented. I found it desirable to hire a professional designer to put together a simple and easily navigated Web site."

Sweet Sight of Success

Use design factors to assess quality. There are well-established industry criteria for every product: logos, posters, CD's, business cards and stationery, advertising, and Web sites. To cover each one specifically in this article would take too long, so here are some main criteria to help judge a design success:

Is it unified with the content or message you are trying to get across? This creates an immediate connection and sense of belonging.

  1. Is it unified with the content or message you are trying to get across? This creates an immediate connection and sense of belonging.
  2. Is there an information and visual hierarchy? This means there's a focal point or image that grabs your attention first, and then your eye is led around the design in the order of what's important after seeing the main image or reading the main text.
  3. Does the design have graphic impact? Is it distinctive or memorable? There are many CD's competing with yours for attention (lots of demos are sent out to producers, potential crew, record labels and distributors), so yours must be a major contender.
  4. Is it appropriate for whom you want to attract and the environment in which it will be presented? A poster or CD for a country audience will not have the same look and feel presentation as for a heavy metal one.

Who can forget the strong identity between the Stones and that bright, red tongue sticking out logo? It's a very powerful example of a highly successful design. The Stones logo has graphic impact, is distinctive and memorable, and is appropriate for its rock audience.

For a web site, design and image success is measured by whether your goals for establishing the site are being met. Does it reflect your identity? Are you making sales? Is your visibility increasing? Is it easy for people to navigate and locate what they want? Are there lively and beneficial discussions or information being shared? Are people returning multiple times to your site?

Once the success criteria get established for your project, the real fun begins: designing it.

The Design Process: What To Expect

Professionals have processes to assist them creatively. There will be an initial consultation during which lots of questions are asked. Most designers use a design brief form. The questions on the form are designed to crystallize and solidify your identity and vision, so you and the designer are clear about it. Both get a copy, and sometimes you'll be asked to sign it to approve the accuracy before concept development production begins. You'll be asked to sign a contract and to return it with a retainer (a retainer is a portion of the total cost for the project that must be paid up front before any work begins).

The first thing you'll see is thumbnails (tiny sketched images) or roughs (larger hand-created or computer-generated) ideas. Thumbnails and roughs are concept development techniques. There will be anywhere from three-six (3-6) of them provided. You'll review them and choose one or two on which the designer will focus and make revisions. Once you approve a final design, it is ready to be printed. If it's a web design, it will be coded, programmed, and uploaded to the computer at the service hosting your site. You pay the balance due, and the process is complete.

Budget, Low Budget, No Budget

Pricing for different types of projects can range vastly depending upon the business structure and the length of time the business has been operating. The business can be a design studio, freelance or consultant, or a print shop franchise like Kinko's and have years of experience or be newly established in the industry. Two great resources for getting low cost bids on creating print or web graphics for you are Elance.com andiFreelance.com

I'm talking about pricing as low as $250-$500 for logos, CD's, DVD's, and web sites depending on your requirements. Most of the lowest cost design studios are located outside the U.S.

If you're interested in reviewing industry standard fees for graphic design, web design, or illustration, take a hike to Barnes and Noble bookstore and glance through the Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines published by The Graphic Artist's Guild of America. It's the creative professional's bible, and includes everything you always wanted to know about fees, contracts, copyright, and other professional issues.

The fees quoted are based on nationwide surveys distributed to creative professionals. Standard fees are not cheap. The visual communications creative field is a highly valued, for-profit industry, so fees reflect our need to make a living at what we do. When someone gives you an estimate, make sure it details every service being provided to justify the cost.

There are other options to consider that keeps costs low. A few include:

Supply your own quality photos and/or illustrations. Photography and illustration are specialties requiring additional compensation.

  • Personally coordinate printing and CD or other types of duplication. Our time is money so coordinating printing for your project and getting your CD duplicated will cost you more.
  • Barter for service. We may reduce the fee or work for exchange if something you do is of value to us.
  • Contact your local college or university and request a referral to a recent graduate or current senior student. There are some extremely talented young people who are eager to get client experience and build their portfolio.

Where there is a will, there is a way. Carefully consider what you want the design to convey, who you want to attract, and what you want to accomplish. A marriage between sight and sound can only have a positive impact on your career. Just one look can be the start of a relationship.

Integrating Technology in Learning Through Music Teachers Software

Are you a dedicated and an inspired music teacher? Do you want to always be loved and remembered by your students? Have you ever dreamed of having complete attendance in each and every session? Have you considered any music teachers software not just to improve your teaching strategies but also to lessen your burdens and hassles on paper works and other related tasks of a music teacher? Well, this page may be just right for you. In here, you will learn the various techniques on how you can spend much time in modifying your teaching techniques as well as maximizing your precious time through these great innovations - music teachers software and website.

Generally, all academic institutions specializing in various crafts including the curriculum developers, the administrators and the educators themselves are strongly encouraged to integrate technology in their curricula, teaching methods and in the learning process itself. Over the years, it has been proven that when one has integrated technology in education, it has correspondingly increased the levels of interest and motivation of the learners.

Likewise, in teaching music, students tend to get more interested in learning music holistically; they become more focused and participative in each classroom activity. Since they do researching online, recording and uploading their own music piece or video, listening live or downloadable audio-visual musical pieces, or spending more time on broadening their knowledge via world wide web, internet and other means of technology have become one of the motivating factors on the part of the learners.

However, the music teacher must bear in mind that each inclusion of technology has a corresponding responsibility; you have to be more aware and vigilant on what they do, access or get into each learning experience. Some music teachers websites may relatively seem unnecessary and not essential. Make sure that each website caters only to the needs of your students in music as well as the activity itself.

On the other light, they say that teaching is indeed a noble profession and a rewarding experience. Yet, I know that many teachers in various areas and crafts will agree with me when I say that this job also requires much of your supposed-to-be free time at home. In other words, teachers helplessly bring home loads of work to do and accomplish. As this reality strikes everywhere around the globe, they simply need something to help them work it out.

Music teachers need such software or website to assist them in planning, organizing, managing and supervising their music classes and studios. In a wide variety, this software or website may them in handling their bills and finances, scheduling lessons and communicating reports. Such innovation gives you immediate relief on headaches and other hassles that this profession may bring. Music teachers software can make you save not just money but most importantly, time and energy. Now, that is truly amazingly great, isn't it?

With all these great packages of convenience and ease, I am so certain that every music teacher around the globe can surely enjoy each music teaching experience as he inspires and motivates every learner to love music now and forever.

Where Did the Music Video Come From?

Although the first music video ever broadcasted was 'Video Killed the Radio Star' played by MTV in 1981, some consider the music video to be much older than that year. It seems that the film Alexander Nevsky, directed by Sergei Eisenstein in 1938 had some extended images of battles which had been choreographed by Sergei Prokofiev. These new scenes were so innovative that they have lately been considered to be the first music video.

Apparently, the music video is even much older than these innovative scenes. The 1911 Alexander Scriabin's symphony - Prometheus: Poem of Fire was written for orchestra and 'light organ'. Oskar Fischinger's animated movies were considered to be other ancestors of the music video as they were called 'visual music' and they were equipped with orchestral scores.

Max Fleischer's short cartoons were also considered to be attempts of a music video. He created a new type of cartoons, the sing-along cartoons which he called Screen Songs. These short cartoons were inviting the public to sing along to famous songs at that time. Few years later, in the 1930s, these cartoons were changed; they displayed the musicians singing their hit songs in front of the camera in a live-action show.

Walt Disney also contributed to the music video evolution through his 'Silly Symphonies' which were based on musical pieces. The Warner Brothers cartoons were also created around songs. But the most popular videos were the live music concerts, performing popular singers, videos which were displayed in theatres.

Bessie Smith's dramatized performance of a song was another attempt to make a music video. This performance consisted in a short film named Saint Louis Blues. It was very popular and it had been played in theatres for more than 3 years. She wasn't the only musician that appeared in short musical materials. Many musicians liked the idea and started shooting their own materials. Music historian Donald Clarke considers that Louis Jordan's strange feature film Lookout is the official ancestor of the music video.

In conclusion, it seems that the first music video issue is still a controversial subject. The important thing that needs to be noted is that the music video is by far much older than the television which made it famous: MTV.

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Music Licensing and Making Movies

Making movies and securing music for a soundtrack go hand in hand. Indie filmmakers and indie music producers are starting to connect more. This is a really cool thing happening right now. Indie filmmakers want quality music for their project and indie music labels want to get their artists more exposure. Cross-promotion is what really makes working at the independent entertainment level thrive.

The reality is an indie produced movie is not going to be able to swing the cost of music licensing to use a song from the Rolling Stones or Jay-Z on their movie soundtrack. Every indie filmmaker out there I would bet has thought how bad ass it would be to use a certain song in their movie. I personally would love to use the Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil in the horror movie Psoro as a producer.

That's just not going to happen on an indie movie budget. This is why indie filmmakers and indie record labels are starting to pull together. Being greedy at the indie level makes no sense to me. It is night and day between working on studio backed movies and indie driven movies fueled by sweat equity. That's why I like to go to the street so to speak to find music for movie soundtracks.

Reaching out to music artists and music producers that have indie labels is a good way to get killer tracks that add production value to your completed movie. It works the other way when music artists reach out to indie filmmakers with their creative goods. The truth is that we all need exposure in the entertainment business. Without it your career ends up in a ditch bloated with flies hovering around it and some kid poking the corpse with the shitty end of a stick.

For filmmaking purists that might be reading this I'm not touching on scoring a film. That's another wild animal to me entirely. This is focused on already completed tracks that can be used in opening and ending credits, plus in certain scenes like Quentin Tarantino does in his movies. The music sometimes has as much impact as the visuals. Music licensing doesn't have to be complicated or empty your pocket.

When you're an indie movie producer you need to make things happen. It feels damn good to get a movie shot and start post-production. It feels better to have music licensing agreements in place before you cut one scene. Movie editors can vibe off certain tracks you're going to use. This makes your finished film the best it can be with the resources you used to make it.

If you come across an indie record label or artist hit them up with an email about using one of their songs in your movie. It could cost you some money or not. One thing for sure is won't come close to anything the Rolling Stones or Jay-Z record labels would charge for music licensing. There is always a flip side to the entertainment business. It could be you're approached by a record label or artist that wants to submit their music to be used on the movie soundtrack.

That works. To keep things even and straightforward do what you say you're going to do as a producer. Send them the music license agreement terms upfront. Let them know that their track might not be used at all. Shit happens during editing of a movie that can change where their music was going to play. When their music is used give them proper credit that includes written by, performed by and any other information they want known regarding the track.

Times are changing. It's not always that an indie filmmaker has to pay the music label. I've been learning of a shift where sometimes the music label has to pay the production company. It's like product placement. The best music licensing agreements to me are the pay it forward type. No money is exchanged. What is exchanged is a good faith effort to cross-promote the movie and music. I would love to see a new music artist get exposure off a movie that I produced and vice versa.

I'm not in the entertainment business to screw anybody over. I don't want to get screwed over. Writing, directing and producing movies is a passion that will never die as long as I'm here. I appreciate what music adds to each and every scene in a movie. I'm working on finding completed tracks for the horror movie Psoro soundtrack. Director Wayne Daniells and visual artist Paul While are working hard to deliver shocking gore. I'm working to deliver the music that makes this a cult classic. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing cue music licensing.

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Music Videos - The Extension To Musical Expression

Music has always been something that speaks to the soul. People listen to music to relax, to create an atmosphere, to set a mood. Music consists of two main parts namely the melody and lyrics. By combining these two aspects simultaneously you create a harmony that goes beyond explanation. The melody creates the correct atmosphere to bring you the true message of the lyrics. For ages people has been satisfied with an audio experience only, but as the music industry developed, people developed a need for an audio-visual musical experience. Music videos was the answer to that need. There were, and still are, many music lovers that have a negative view about music videos. They believe that music videos only have a marketing purpose and nothing else. There is some truth in this, but is a music video totally useless when it comes to the message a song wants to deliver?

You have to experience the song without a picture to really understand it. To really appreciate the work of a musical artist you have to experience a song through every mechanism available, through the artist's voice, through the specific music instruments, through the carefully selected melodies, through the wonderfully written lyrics. Your first experience of a song and its interpretation should be by audio only. You have to be able to capture its meaning before it is corrupted by a visual expression. A song has to be free to speak a personal message and if a song is able to do that it is only because of artistic perfection. A music video takes away an artist's majestic power of illustration.

Music videos are not all that bad. The nice thing about music videos is that they give you a new approach to the song, another perspective that may not have been experienced during your first interpretations of the song. It opens your mind for new possibilities with a song. A music video is also a good medium that helps you to understand a song if you are not good at interpreting them. Not everyone is a good interpreter of musical literature. Music videos are also a great way of bridging the language gap for fans who enjoy the music of a foreign artist, but don't understand a word he or she is singing. After exploring a song trough audio only, it is always pleasurable for fans to see all the mechanisms of music combined in a music video, where you can experience the music with your eyes, ears and soul, all at the same time.

A music video should not be your first experience of a song, because that is when the theme of the song is killed. You have to focus on the music and lyrics to really appreciate the abilities of the artist. Not everyone looks good in a music video, but there are many, "not-so-good-looking" artists that produces great music. A music video is only a different medium through which one can experience a song, the music video itself cannot speak to you in a personal way, only the song can. The music video only brings you the central theme of the song, the abstract, theoretical meaning. Therefore it is true that a music video on its own, gives you a very limited perspective and can, at most, be an extension to musical expression, but can't be the expression itself.

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Undertaking to Download Free Music and MTV Videos

In case you are looking for free audio or visual music, then you can be certain that the place to go to is the internet. This is mainly because there happens to be seemingly endless supplies of visual clips available for downloading for absolutely no charge whatsoever from the widest varieties of online web sites. To this end, you will be pleased to note that most record companies and artists are now making allowance for their fans to go about downloading entire albums and songs without charging them.

Although it is possible that you will get the child that you are a child in some candy store when you are given the option of downloading these songs for free, always keep in mind that it is important to be cautious when you are doing this.

This is mainly as a result of the fact that when you download music and songs without ensuring that you have paid for them, you may actually be violating a number of the songs' copyright regulations. This goes to show that you will need to conduct a very thorough research to help you discover the sites at which it is possible to download free visual clips without breaking the law.

Once you are done with the research and you have found out those sites which are legal when it comes to downloading music for free, there are a number of tips you will need to make use of to help you.

For starters, keep in mind that free downloads of music rank among the most excellent ways of expanding the music repertoire at your disposal without having to spend a single cent out of your pocket.

Apart from the above, most of the music that you will get to download will most likely be in MP3 format. However, you can still locate a couple of sites which will give you the leeway to download these clips especially from MTV.

Finally, artists have a tendency to offer free downloads of music. You will need to check through their official web sites or the pages they maintain on social networks. Bit Torrent and peer to peer networks are unbeatable resources when it comes to downloading free visual and audio clips from the internet. This simply means that it is advisable that you get them.

In case you are looking for free music videos, check out the internet. There are sites which will allow you to get MTV videos.

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Shapes of Music - Visual Art and Music

An artist has the privilege of communicating to you visually. Sometimes he wants to share his believes in a few words.

The new 'Visual Grammar', developed by the European Avant-gard of the 20s, particularly by the Russian Avant-gard, - namely by Vasiliy Kandinsky, as well as the Classical heritage from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance - is a stepping stone for my own research in art.

What I do, is build composition on that stepping stone on the foundation of Visual Grammar, shaped by classical and modern schools, and than fill it in with content that is more emotional than intellectual, at this stage compelling rational tools to yield to intuition. It is like a rigid skeleton surrounded with a soft living tissue.

I do believe that the spiritual - ideal - objective model forms our real Reality.

So-called 'realism' is an ill defined term commonly attributed to art focused on depicting visible surfaces of material objects. This is an indication and a result of an incomplete, even defective, mental horizon, a primitive materialistic view on reality reduced to a small fraction of the physical world -- that only fraction, which can be seen or touched.
I must note here, that many great pieces of art labeled with this word, do not fall into this ill-defined category.

A pure abstract art, which is closer to me because it deals with a more important part of Reality than the matter, specifically with the ideas and pure forms, seams to be deficient too. I believe that the total elimination of material objects as a class from paintings not only impoverishes the artist's 'toolbox', but is the consequence and indication of a one-sided approach to (the) Reality -- this time, a purely idealistic one, almost coincident with Plato's concept, who saw the changing physical world as a poor, decaying copy of a perfect one.

Yes, abstract art most certainly delivered great masterpieces to humanity in 20th century. And I cannot but agree with Roger Fry's statement: "The form of a work of art has a meaning of its own and the contemplation of the form in and for itself gives rise in some people to a special emotion which does not depend upon the association of the form with anything else whatsoever." But it doesn't mean that a self-sufficient form cannot be turned into a recognizable object.

By the way, an original definition of a widespread term - Visual Music - was coined by Roger Fry in 1912 to describe the work of Kandinsky, meaning the translation of music to painting.

Regarding intuitivism, or any theory stating that the creative process is solely an act of genius, spontaneous and purely emotional, it wouldn't be worth even discussing, were it not so widespread an assumption. I personally have heard from several artists, one art critic and several art dealers that the intellectual and physical aspects in the creative process (i.e. ideas and techniques) are only boring limitations, and an inevitable evil to creativity. I believe this started as an opposition to the dry, actually degrading academism or 'classicism' of the mid 19th century. It (could) may have started when some of the leaders of the Impressionist movement openly rejected the 'old grammar', emphasizing the importance of a direct impression and spontaneous, emotional reaction of an artist to that impression in a creative process. But almost all of the artists of that period had a solid 'classical' training prior to this rejection; they inherited all the goods possessed by that domain, they inherited the basic visual grammar even on subconscious levels, which cannot be said about many of their followers in 20th century, who even now keep questioning the importance of basic training in visual arts, as well as the power of the analytical, deductive component in art making.

Avant-grad Movement of the first third of the century came in as a gust of fresh air, filling in the vacuum left by an already dead Academism and degrading impressionism. It not only restored the position of intellectual tools in the arts, but also dramatically expanded the borders of visual arts to unprecedented levels. I'd like to emphasize here, that very similar and radical processes were taking place at that very period around the world in the social spheres, in science and industry, in architecture and literature, and of course in music.

Having said that, I'd like to summarize what all this means to me and to my art:

1. A solid abstract and, if need be, mathematically described foundation of composition is a must (to be present) in my work.

2. An object must to be presented in my artwork, for I do not share a purely idealistic ( in Plato style) approach to (the) Reality, which, to my mind, ultimately leads to the mental Uncreation of the world.

3. My work has to be a fusion of both aspects, ideal and material, blended together by a third - spiritual force.
In this respect, music, which is very abstract, and musicians with their beautiful instruments, who are so "real", are perfect subjects for my exercises. Moreover, music and visual arts have a lot in common.I cannot help from mentioning at least some categories that are common to both:

Rhythm - it's very obvious: duration / length / frequencies, including and forming (or formed by) negative spaces / pauses / absence / silence - all are common to both fields.

Proportions - harmonic proportions and derivatives from them, commonly described in mathematical terms, starting with very basic, discovered by Pythagoras- 1:2, 2:3, 3:4, 1:1- discovered specifically on the acoustic / musical territory (please note, that these are basic proportions of canvases one can buy in an art supplies store) and then going further to the Fibonacci series which have their limit in the irrational Golden Ratio.

The temperature (cold / hot) of sounds and colours. This idea is still considered to be controversial, yet it is obvious that sounds and colours can be warmer or cooler. Less obvious is an exact scientific correlation between them.

Movement - ascending, descending, elliptic etc. Musicians do not need an explanation of this, and neither do artists. Please have a look at my study of ascending and descending movements in the elliptic composition of the very first picture on my home page, titled the 'Trio".

All of these categories sound (or look!) familiar to both musicians and visual artists, don't they?

We can talk about background sounds and colours, about a sound being like a ray emerging from a particular starting point and fading away, or like a part of an endless line going from eternity to eternity. We could mention intensity / saturation of the tones in the both fields, we could dedicate a chapter to the theory of contrasts, for example between 'low' and 'deep' continuous sound or form and a sharp 'stroke' of a sound or a paint.

On the human capacity to see sounds and hear colours I would recommend, once again, Vasiliy Kandinsky Synaesthesia.

Another fascinating subject is the Counterpoint Concept (as known as Contrapunkt), which defines relationship between two or more different parts of a piece, which are somewhat independent, say, in rhythm, but are interdependent in harmony. This powerful instrument, in my opinion, has been much less understood, appreciated and used in visual arts than in music.

I drew these parallels on the very basic or fundamental level for both arts. But, as a part of Life, they are constantly changing (I hate the term 'still life' or 'nature mort', for life cannot be still or 'mort' by definition), developing, progressing or, unfortunately, regressing. I find a lot in common between modern scientific thinking (Relativistic Theory, Quantum Theory, Expanding Universe Model, String Theory etc.), modern art.

Finally, I am attempting two things: to explore reality, including but not limited to it's 'visible' fraction, and to take part in shaping it. This, I believe, is ultimately the essence of any creative process.

"We shall therefore borrow all our Rules for the Finishing our Proportions, from the Musicians, who are the greatest Masters of this Sort of Numbers, and from those Things wherein Nature shows herself most excellent and compleat." - Leon Battista Alberti (1407-1472)

I am an artist.

I have the privilege of communicating to you visually.

Presented on the site Music Artwork are selected works from my 'Shapes of Music' series.

#EANF#

#EANF#

Communion With The Infinite - The Visual Music of the Shipibo Tribe of the Amazon

The Magical Art of the Shipibo People of the Upper Amazon

Underlying the intricate geometric patterns of great complexity displayed in the art of the Shipibo people is a concept of an all pervading magical reality which can challenge the Western linguistic heritage and rational mind.

These patterns are more than an expression of the one-ness of creation, the inter-changeability of light and sound, the union or fusion of perceived opposites, it is an ongoing dialogue or communion with the spiritual world and powers of the Rainforest. The visionary art of the Shipibo brings this paradigm into a physical form. The Ethnologist Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, calls this "visual music".

The Shipibo are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Peruvian Amazon. These ethnic groups each have their own languages, traditions and culture. The Shipibo which currently number about 20,000 are spread out in communities through the Pucallpa / Ucayali river region. They are highly regarded in the Amazon as being masters of Ayahuasca, and many aspiring shamans and Ayahuasqueros from the region study with the Shipibo to learn their language, chants, and plant medicine knowledge.

All the textile painting, embroidery, and artisan craft is carried out by the women. From a young age the Shipibo females are initiated by their mothers and grandmothers into this practice. Teresa a Shipiba who works with us on our Amazon Retreats tells that "when I was a young girl, my mother squeezed drops of the Piripiri (a species of Cyperus sp.) berries into my eyes so that I would have the vision for the designs; this is only done once and lasts a lifetime".

The intricate Shipibo designs have their origin in the non-manifest and ineffable world in the spirit of the Rainforest and all who live there. The designs are a representation of the Cosmic Serpent, the Anaconda, the great Mother, creator of the universe called Ronin Kene. For the Shipibo the skin of Ronin Kene has a radiating, electrifying vibration of light, colour, sound, movement and is the embodiment of all possible patterns and designs past, present, and future. The designs that the Shipibo paint are channels or conduits for this multi-sensorial vibrational fusion of form, light and sound. Although in our cultural paradigm we perceive that the geometric patterns are bound within the border of the textile or ceramic vessel, to the Shipibo the patterns extend far beyond these borders and permeate the entire world.

One of the challenges for the Western mind is to acknowledge the relationship between the Shipibo designs and music. For the Shipibo can "listen" to a song or chant by looking at the designs, and inversely paint a pattern by listening to a song or music.

As an astonishing demonstration of this I witnessed two Shipiba paint a large ceremonial ceramic pot known as a Mahuetá. The pot was nearly five feet high and had a diameter of about three feet, each of the Shipiba couldn't see what the other was painting, yet both were whistling the same song, and when they had finished both sides of the complex geometric pattern were identical and matched each side perfectly.

The Shipibo designs are traditionally carried out on natural un-dyed cotton (which they often grow themselves) or on cotton dyed in mahogany bark (usually three or four times) which gives the distinctive brown colour. They paint either using a pointed piece of chonta (bamboo) or an iron nail with the juice of the crushed Huito (Genipa americana) berry fruits which turns into a blue- brown-black dye once exposed to air.

Each of the designs are unique, even the very small pieces, and they cannot be commercially or mass produced. In Lima I met with a woman who had set up a government funded community project which amongst other matters established a collective for the Shipibo to sell their artisan work and paintings. She tells that a major USA corporation (Pier 1 Imports), enamoured by these designs ordered via the project twenty thousand textiles with the same design, this order could never be fulfilled, the Shipibo could simply not comprehend the concept of replicating identical designs.

The Shipibo believe that our state of health (which includes physical and psychological) is dependent on the balanced union between mind, spirit and body. If an imbalance in this occurs such as through emotions of envy, hate, anger, this will generate a negative effect on the health of that person. The shaman will re-establish the balance by chanting the icaros which are the geometric patterns of harmony made manifest in sound into the body of the person. The shaman in effect transforms the visual code into an acoustic code.

A key element in this magical dialogue with the energy which permeates creation and is embedded in the Shipibo designs is the work with ayahuasca by the Shipibo shamans or muraya. In the deep ayahuasca trance, the ayahuasca reveals to the shaman the luminous geometric patterns of energy. These filaments drift towards the mouth of the shaman where it metamorphoses into a chant or icaro. The icaro is a conduit for the patterns of creation which then permeate the body of the shaman's patient bringing harmony in the form of the geometric patterns which re-balances the patient's body. The vocal range of the Shipibo shaman's when they chant the icaros is astonishing, they can range from the highest falsetto one moment to a sound which resembles a thumping pile driver, and then to a gentle soothing melodic lullaby. Speaking personally of my experience with this, is a feeling that every cell in my body is floating and embraced in a nurturing all-encompassing vibration, even the air around me is vibrating in acoustic resonance with the icaro of the maestro. The shaman knows when the healing is complete as the design is clearly distinct in the patient's body. It make take a few sessions to complete this, and when completed the geometric healing designs are embedded in the patient's body, this is called an Arkana. This internal patterning is deemed to be permanent and to protect a person's spirit.

Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, Professor of Ethnology, University of Marburg writes that "Essentially, Shipibo-Conibo therapy is a matter of visionary design application in connection with aura restoration, the shaman heals his patient through the application of a visionary design, every person feels spiritually permeated and saturated with designs. The shaman heals his patient through the application of the song-design, which saturates the patients' body and is believed to untangle distorted physical and psycho-spiritual energies, restoring harmony to the somatic, psychic and spiritual systems of the patient. The designs are permanent and remain with a person's spirit even after death.".

Whilst it is not easy for Westerner's to enter and engage with the world view of the Shipibo which has been developed far away from our linguistic structures and psychological models, there is an underlying sophisticated and complex symbolic language embedded in these geometric patterns. The main figures in the Shipibo designs are the square, the rhombus, the octagon, and the cross. The symmetry of the patterns emanating from the centre (which is our world) is a representation of the outer and inner worlds, a map of the cosmos. The cross represents the Southern Cross constellation which dominates the night sky and divides the cosmos into four quadrants, the intersection of the arms of the cross is the centre of the universe, and becomes the cosmic cross. The cosmic cross represents the eternal spirit of a person and the union of the masculine and feminine principles the very cycle of life and death which reminds us of the great act of procreation of not only the universe, but also of humanity, and our individual selves.

The smaller flowing patterns within the geometric forms are the radiating power of the Cosmic Serpent which turns this way and that, betwixt and between constantly creating the universe as it moves. The circles are often a direct representation of the Cosmic Anaconda, and within the circle itself is the central point of creation.

In the Western tradition, from the Pythagoreans, and Plato through the Renaissance music was used to heal the body and to elevate the soul. It was also believed that earthly music was no more than a faint echo of the universal 'harmony of the spheres'. This view of the harmony of the universe was held both by artists and scientists until the mechanistic universe of Newton.

Joseph Campbell the foremost scholar of mythology suggests that there is a universe of harmonic vibrations which the human collective unconscious has always been in communion with. Our beings beat to the ancient rhythms of the cosmos. The traditional ways of the Shipibo and other indigenous peoples still reflect the primal rhythm, and their perception of the universal forces made physical is truly a communion with the infinite.

Communion With The Infinite - The Visual Music of the Shipibo Tribe of the Amazon

The Magical Art of the Shipibo People of the Upper Amazon

Underlying the intricate geometric patterns of great complexity displayed in the art of the Shipibo people is a concept of an all pervading magical reality which can challenge the Western linguistic heritage and rational mind.

These patterns are more than an expression of the one-ness of creation, the inter-changeability of light and sound, the union or fusion of perceived opposites, it is an ongoing dialogue or communion with the spiritual world and powers of the Rainforest. The visionary art of the Shipibo brings this paradigm into a physical form. The Ethnologist Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, calls this "visual music".

The Shipibo are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Peruvian Amazon. These ethnic groups each have their own languages, traditions and culture. The Shipibo which currently number about 20,000 are spread out in communities through the Pucallpa / Ucayali river region. They are highly regarded in the Amazon as being masters of Ayahuasca, and many aspiring shamans and Ayahuasqueros from the region study with the Shipibo to learn their language, chants, and plant medicine knowledge.

All the textile painting, embroidery, and artisan craft is carried out by the women. From a young age the Shipibo females are initiated by their mothers and grandmothers into this practice. Teresa a Shipiba who works with us on our Amazon Retreats tells that "when I was a young girl, my mother squeezed drops of the Piripiri (a species of Cyperus sp.) berries into my eyes so that I would have the vision for the designs; this is only done once and lasts a lifetime".

The intricate Shipibo designs have their origin in the non-manifest and ineffable world in the spirit of the Rainforest and all who live there. The designs are a representation of the Cosmic Serpent, the Anaconda, the great Mother, creator of the universe called Ronin Kene. For the Shipibo the skin of Ronin Kene has a radiating, electrifying vibration of light, colour, sound, movement and is the embodiment of all possible patterns and designs past, present, and future. The designs that the Shipibo paint are channels or conduits for this multi-sensorial vibrational fusion of form, light and sound. Although in our cultural paradigm we perceive that the geometric patterns are bound within the border of the textile or ceramic vessel, to the Shipibo the patterns extend far beyond these borders and permeate the entire world.

One of the challenges for the Western mind is to acknowledge the relationship between the Shipibo designs and music. For the Shipibo can "listen" to a song or chant by looking at the designs, and inversely paint a pattern by listening to a song or music.

As an astonishing demonstration of this I witnessed two Shipiba paint a large ceremonial ceramic pot known as a Mahuetá. The pot was nearly five feet high and had a diameter of about three feet, each of the Shipiba couldn't see what the other was painting, yet both were whistling the same song, and when they had finished both sides of the complex geometric pattern were identical and matched each side perfectly.

The Shipibo designs are traditionally carried out on natural un-dyed cotton (which they often grow themselves) or on cotton dyed in mahogany bark (usually three or four times) which gives the distinctive brown colour. They paint either using a pointed piece of chonta (bamboo) or an iron nail with the juice of the crushed Huito (Genipa americana) berry fruits which turns into a blue- brown-black dye once exposed to air.

Each of the designs are unique, even the very small pieces, and they cannot be commercially or mass produced. In Lima I met with a woman who had set up a government funded community project which amongst other matters established a collective for the Shipibo to sell their artisan work and paintings. She tells that a major USA corporation (Pier 1 Imports), enamoured by these designs ordered via the project twenty thousand textiles with the same design, this order could never be fulfilled, the Shipibo could simply not comprehend the concept of replicating identical designs.

The Shipibo believe that our state of health (which includes physical and psychological) is dependent on the balanced union between mind, spirit and body. If an imbalance in this occurs such as through emotions of envy, hate, anger, this will generate a negative effect on the health of that person. The shaman will re-establish the balance by chanting the icaros which are the geometric patterns of harmony made manifest in sound into the body of the person. The shaman in effect transforms the visual code into an acoustic code.

A key element in this magical dialogue with the energy which permeates creation and is embedded in the Shipibo designs is the work with ayahuasca by the Shipibo shamans or muraya. In the deep ayahuasca trance, the ayahuasca reveals to the shaman the luminous geometric patterns of energy. These filaments drift towards the mouth of the shaman where it metamorphoses into a chant or icaro. The icaro is a conduit for the patterns of creation which then permeate the body of the shaman's patient bringing harmony in the form of the geometric patterns which re-balances the patient's body. The vocal range of the Shipibo shaman's when they chant the icaros is astonishing, they can range from the highest falsetto one moment to a sound which resembles a thumping pile driver, and then to a gentle soothing melodic lullaby. Speaking personally of my experience with this, is a feeling that every cell in my body is floating and embraced in a nurturing all-encompassing vibration, even the air around me is vibrating in acoustic resonance with the icaro of the maestro. The shaman knows when the healing is complete as the design is clearly distinct in the patient's body. It make take a few sessions to complete this, and when completed the geometric healing designs are embedded in the patient's body, this is called an Arkana. This internal patterning is deemed to be permanent and to protect a person's spirit.

Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, Professor of Ethnology, University of Marburg writes that "Essentially, Shipibo-Conibo therapy is a matter of visionary design application in connection with aura restoration, the shaman heals his patient through the application of a visionary design, every person feels spiritually permeated and saturated with designs. The shaman heals his patient through the application of the song-design, which saturates the patients' body and is believed to untangle distorted physical and psycho-spiritual energies, restoring harmony to the somatic, psychic and spiritual systems of the patient. The designs are permanent and remain with a person's spirit even after death.".

Whilst it is not easy for Westerner's to enter and engage with the world view of the Shipibo which has been developed far away from our linguistic structures and psychological models, there is an underlying sophisticated and complex symbolic language embedded in these geometric patterns. The main figures in the Shipibo designs are the square, the rhombus, the octagon, and the cross. The symmetry of the patterns emanating from the centre (which is our world) is a representation of the outer and inner worlds, a map of the cosmos. The cross represents the Southern Cross constellation which dominates the night sky and divides the cosmos into four quadrants, the intersection of the arms of the cross is the centre of the universe, and becomes the cosmic cross. The cosmic cross represents the eternal spirit of a person and the union of the masculine and feminine principles the very cycle of life and death which reminds us of the great act of procreation of not only the universe, but also of humanity, and our individual selves.

The smaller flowing patterns within the geometric forms are the radiating power of the Cosmic Serpent which turns this way and that, betwixt and between constantly creating the universe as it moves. The circles are often a direct representation of the Cosmic Anaconda, and within the circle itself is the central point of creation.

In the Western tradition, from the Pythagoreans, and Plato through the Renaissance music was used to heal the body and to elevate the soul. It was also believed that earthly music was no more than a faint echo of the universal 'harmony of the spheres'. This view of the harmony of the universe was held both by artists and scientists until the mechanistic universe of Newton.

Joseph Campbell the foremost scholar of mythology suggests that there is a universe of harmonic vibrations which the human collective unconscious has always been in communion with. Our beings beat to the ancient rhythms of the cosmos. The traditional ways of the Shipibo and other indigenous peoples still reflect the primal rhythm, and their perception of the universal forces made physical is truly a communion with the infinite.