Getting The Chills *Weekend Open Thread*

July 14, 2018 by

No, I’m not sick. A bit tired after having 3 kids here, ages 9 – 12, maybe, but other than that, I am fine.

The chills to which I am referring has nothing to do with any of the political antics from this week, or the chilly reception of many liberals to Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee. Nope.

The “chills” I mean are something much more melodic in nature. Here’s the thing: I get an email with a couple of select news stories every day from The Daily Grind. at the end of each email, they have a “Did You Know” fact. Here was one they had recently:

The chills you sometimes feel when listening to music is called “musical frisson.”

Why, no, I did NOT know that was what it was called. This happened to me just recently when I was watching the Fourth of July show from the White House on Hallmark when I heard Jax sing a song she wrote, “Somebody’s Kid.”

I had not heard of Jax before until she was invited and harassed because Her brother is a Marine, and her father was a 9/11 First Responder. Here is what she had to say about the way people were treating her:

Good for her for seeing this as the great opportunity and honor that it is to be asked to perform at the White House. Her patriotism is refreshing. But how telling and sad that someone even HAS to defend an invitation to perform at the White House on the Fourth of July. It is a sad commentary on where we are now.

Jax got it right. It is an honor whether others see it as one or not. And here is the song she wrote and performed in front of the White House:

Anyway, it made me want to know more about what this “musical frisson” was. Thankfully, Science Daily has more about this phenomenon:

The team at (McGill University) The Neuro measured dopamine release in response to music that elicited “chills,” changes in skin conductance, heart rate, breathing, and temperature that were correlated with pleasurability ratings of the music. ‘Chills’ or ‘musical frisson’ is a well established marker of peak emotional responses to music. A novel combination of PET and fMRI brain imaging techniques, revealed that dopamine release is greater for pleasurable versus neutral music, and that levels of release are correlated with the extent of emotional arousal and pleasurability ratings. Dopamine is known to play a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining behavior that is biologically necessary.

“These findings provide neurochemical evidence that intense emotional responses to music involve ancient reward circuitry in the brain,” says Dr. Robert Zatorre, neuroscientist at The Neuro. “To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that an abstract reward such as music can lead to dopamine release. Abstract rewards are largely cognitive in nature, and this study paves the way for future work to examine non-tangible rewards that humans consider rewarding for complex reasons.”

“Music is unique in the sense that we can measure all reward phases in real-time, as it progresses from baseline neutral to anticipation to peak pleasure all during scanning,” says lead investigator Valorie Salimpoor, a graduate student in the Zatorre lab at The Neuro and McGill psychology program. “It is generally a great challenge to examine dopamine activity during both the anticipation and the consumption phase of a reward. Both phases are captured together online by the PET scanner, which, combined with the temporal specificity of fMRI provides us with a unique assessment of the distinct contributions of each brain region at different time points.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Isn’t that interesting? I can totally see that being the case. There is something about music that is just transformative. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very musical family. We all sang and played at least one instrument, beginning with piano at the age of 5 (I played flute in band and orchestra, and taught myself how to play the guitar, which I did for decades until arthritis in my hands made that impossible). Both of my parents sang, and as I have noted here before, my father had been a classical pianist-turned-church organist. So yeah, music is in my blood, and my taste in music goes from Country to Opera (no Rap or Death/Heavy metal for me).

One of my favorite opera singers is the Welsh Mezzo-Soprano, Kathleen Jenkins. Her voice is so beautiful, I get chills every time I hear her. This next piece isn’t just beautiful, but one she sings to honor the military:

After hearing her speak, I bet you didn’t expect that voice to come out, right? She has such a beautiful voice, and such a gorgeous tone to her voice. Oh, and fun fact – English is her second language, with Welsh being her first.

It doesn’t have to be a vocal piece to give me “musical frisson.” This version of “Amazing Grace” performed by Sec of State Condoleezza Rice and “America’s Violinist,” Jenny Oaks Baker, is just stunning (and if you download it on iTunes, they donate some of the money to Wounded Warriors):

Such a beautiful, beautiful rendition of this classic tune, isn’t it? I think it is my favorite one. Our former Secretary of State and jenny oaks Baker sure make some beautiful music. It is goosebump-inducing to be sure.

Since I am on a musical-theme in this Weekend Post, check out this little drummer boy. He is just fantastic! From InspireMore:

Lennox Howard Noble is quite possibly the cutest little drummer boy you’ve ever laid your eyes on.

He’s only two years old, but this Cincinnati, Ohio toddler (who’s just too adorable for words) already has millions of fans, and it’s all thanks to the viral video below. (Click this link to go to Noble’s page to see the video.)

shintara and lennox


It seems music runs in little Lennox’s veins. His mom, Shintara Nicole Noble, 34, is a singer in the gospel band “Speak Life,” and his dad, Herman Noble, is a rapper. Shintara says people have been predicting since Lennox was just a baby that he’d make a career of music.


And while Lennox enjoys playing on literally anything (including, according to Mom, a person “if you’re too close”), this prodigy recently got a drum set of his own from a fan, and he even got to play a concert with popular Christian recording artist Chris Tomlin![…] (Click here to read more.)


Lennox has some MAD drumming skills! Dang! He is really something. And he is only TWO!! Now that will give you goosebumps!

Finally, while this one doesn’t give me goosebumps, I have to share because it is funny (h/t to a friend on Facebook).  It cracked me up:

Ahahaha. Hopefully you are seeing this on Saturday so you can run right out to Chick-fil-A and get some delicious chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, but if not, you only have one more day to go!

That’s it for me, friends. Feel free to discuss whatever in this Weekend Open Thread. If you have songs that give you chills, please share! Have a great weekend (below image courtesy of an old friend)!

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