Posts Tagged ‘music -the brain- and the rain’


Singing in the rain. July 15, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

100% chance of rain.  July 15, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


Inside the Pavilion, sheltered from the storm. Paul Goldfinger photo. July 15, 2014 ©

Inside the Ocean Grove Boardwalk Pavilion, sheltered from the storm. Paul Goldfinger photo. July 15, 2014 ©  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Some of us heard the magnificent sound of the Choir Festival two days ago in the Great Auditorium. Undoubtedly, that music inspired many listeners to think of life, of love, of God, or just of feelings, or maybe it merely soothed  some to sleep.   Music is processed in our brains much like speech is, but instead of words, music brings sound and melody and rhythm.  Different sorts of language, but both with potent brain effects.

People will talk to a sick person and sometimes get a positive response, and music can sometimes produce arousal in an unresponsive person with dementia. And for some people who are very sensitive to their emotional reactions to music, it can be more powerful than speech.

The same can be said for music of another kind—the sound of rain falling. We all have had the experience of being mesmerized by the sound of a peaceful rain. And if you mix the sound of rain with the sound of a simple melody, as occurred today in the Boardwalk Pavilion, you could realize a powerful effect that might equal the sound of Franz Josef Haydn in the Great Auditorium.

Today in Ocean Grove there were torrential rain storms starting in mid afternoon and continuing into the night, punctuated by  bursts of lightning and thunder. I found myself in the Boardwalk Pavilion around 4:30 pm. It was raining hard creating a sound and rhythm on the roof and the boardwalk.

A pianist, a woman in a baseball cap, was playing simple hymns on an electric piano to an audience of 5 people not counting me. I was standing in the back trying to be unobtrusive. On the northern side of the Pavilion a group of Ocean Grove lifeguards, teenagers, were hanging out—passing a soccer ball around, chatting and texting. They were not noisy because the sounds in that place wouldn’t allow it.   They didn’t seem to be interested in the music, but they were certainly hearing it.

I was entranced by the duet of the piano and the rain. And there was another element that contributed to the effect, and that was the environment inside the Pavilion that offered shelter and protection, setting a dramatic counterpoint to the deluge outside.  The whole thing was a sort of symphony.


Wet women frozen in the rain, and then they moved in my direction. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

Wet women frozen in the rain— and then they moved in my direction. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

I saw two women standing on the boardwalk with umbrellas. They were wet despite the umbrellas, but they just stood there for awhile. I think they were talking. Then they walked to the Pavilion and stepped inside.

“Are you part duck,? ” I asked. She laughed and then she and her friend turned and again walked off into the rain. They were not captivated by the music. They had something else on their mind.




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