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5 incredible demonstrations of music

One of the most appealing aspects of music is its ability to transcend so many of the artificial barriers put up by individuals and societies. But what about using music to bring about an end to civil war? Or the Paralympic-like feat of songwriting by a deaf person? What is music for florists, and how does improvisation actually work? Below are 5 incredible TED talks on music to inspire and enlighten.

Mark Applebaum writes music that breaks the rules in fantastic ways, composing a concerto for a florist and crafting a musical instrument from junk and found objects.

Pianist and composer Jennifer Lin gives a magical performance, talks about the process of creativity and improvises a moving solo piece based on a random sequence of notes.

Deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie illustrates how listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums. Percussionist and composer Dame Evelyn Glennie lost nearly all of her hearing by age 12. Rather than isolating her, it has given her a unique connection to her music.

For five years, young Emmanuel Jal fought as a child soldier in the Sudan. Rescued by an aid worker, he’s become an international hip-hop star and an activist for kids in war zones. In words and lyrics, he tells the story of his amazing life. Emmanuel Jal’s hypnotic voice rises from hellish origins as a beacon of hope for those caught in seemingly endless cycles of war and despair.

Virtuoso Pamelia Kurstin performs and discusses her theremin, the not-just-for-sci-fi electronic instrument that is played without being touched. She excavates a dusty artifact from the prehistoric strata of electronic music — and demonstrates how to squeeze soul from an instrument you can’t even touch.

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