Functional Music

I sing, all the time; it brings courage and solace in tough times, and helps me express or channel feelings. Singing at the top of my lungs allows me to walk into deep, chilly water, which I otherwise couldn't because of mental and sensory blocks. Here are a few types of explicitly functional songs I've invented over the years.

Mazlaani mantras

These songs are like shell scripts for the soul: they induce certain states of mind when I need them. Written in my personal invented language, they can be sung without concern for who is listening. They are created by taking feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration, and trasnmuting them into beauty – giving those feelings purpose, validity, acceptance. If I find myself stuck in a cycle of recurring negative thoughts, building a song is like building a road out, leading my mind in a more healthy direction.

The songs


We were wandering where navigation apps wouldn't help us, and as we descended into the darkness, I was concerned that I would get claustrophobic from worry about the lights going out and the group losing our way in the repetitive environment.

As we walked and I hummed to myself, I tried to keep track of the progression of features to either side. After a few, I started using a mnemonic – assigning "C" (or whatever it was) to ladders on the right, and other notes to new features. Features to the left were lower than C; to the right, C or higher. Combining several types of memory, I built a map that I still remember, years later, and I'll find myself humming it when nothing else is there.

It was a beautiful walk, with the group exchanging songs at the other end, punctuated by far-off rumbles and flowing water. I kept my lamp off the whole time, so I'd be sure we had at least one full battery, and easily checked off the landmarks that we passed on the way back.

The Get Better Song

We have the Birthday Song, and we have things like saying "gesundheit" when someone sneezes. Why not combine the two? Have a cute little song to sing for someone when they're ailing, a way to show you care...

Reverse lullaby: Spinning Up

Lullabies put you to sleep. This reverse lullaby celebrates the earth awakening, beginning to look at itself, as humanity shoots cameras up into space to photograph the entire planet once per day and track global change.

Spinning Up: a song for Dove 27-b of Planet Labs


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