Deaf Community and the Music

On 18 October 2017, all of you might have seen the “Google Doodle” celebrating the 66th anniversary of Germany’s Studio for Electronic Music. It is a state-of-the-art studio for creating electronically synthesized sounds.

Google Doodle Celebrating Anniversary of Electronic Studio

It makes us realize that how old the tryst of technology with music is. We have a separate genre of Music for that – Electronic Music. Over the years, technology has been an integral part of the Music industry. But yet, technology was involved only in the creation of music and very little in how we perceive music.

When somebody asks you “how do you perceive music?”, you won’t think twice before replying, “Well! I hear it through ears”. But hang on! there is certainly more to the music than just listening. We all might have felt at some or the other point of life that listening to a music actually affected our feelings. So, what is it in music that affects more than just our ears. There is lot of study and research going on about how the music affects the human body as a whole. Research has shown us that music affects the blood pressure, heart rate, depression, anxiety. But it is about what happens after we listen to the music. So, does it mean that ears are the only way we can perceive music.

Let me tell you a story about a woman named Evelyn Glennie. She is a percussionist and she is a three times Grammy Award winner and 15 honorary doctorates holder. A brilliant musician who can play more than thousands of percussion instruments. The most astonishing fact about this lady is that she has achieved all of these after turning profoundly deaf at the age of 12. Amazed at how did she create a music without even listening to it? It certainly shakes our belief that ears are the only way we can perceive music. As Evelyn speaks about her music, she constantly emphasize that we do not only listen music but also we experience it. We experience it through our hands, legs, our whole body. She speaks about her creation of music in this TED Talk.

Now that we have learnt that it is not necessary to hear music to experience the music, let’s dwell into the world of music through feelings. There have been many efforts of using this fact by different universities and researchers to bring the music to the deaf community. Coke Studio, one of the most popular live recording music show took the initiative in Pakistan where the deaf community constitutes around 9 million people. In season 9 of the Coke Studio, they took this step in order to reach out the every people of the community irrespective of disabilities. A combination of lighting and the couch with hundreds of vibration engines were used to create a experience of the music for the hearing impaired community. A setup was created with the video of song being played and lighting was in synchronization with the sound of the song to create an ambiance. The vibration engines were used to give the feel of the song to the participants of this “Coke Studio for the deaf” program.

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