It’s interesting to reach out to people and ask them about the Music in the world around them. We’ve talked to local Edmonton artists, LARPers, librarians, and cover artists. But what about a Star Trek fan that doesn’t like Music? Meet Melvin Marsh.
Introducing Melvin Marsh
We got in touch with Melvin Marsh, MS CHt CAHA, a huge Star Trek fan but not a huge music fan. He is a certified hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia, focusing on fear, anxiety, and medical hypnosis.
You may be asking, ‘Why interview someone who doesn’t like music?’. We understand that it may be strange that switching styles is interviewing someone that doesn’t like Music, and even Melvin himself considered it odd, saying, “As I said before, asking a person who hates music about music is not going to give you the answers you likely are wanting”.
Switching Styles aims to connect with the world around you to bring you as much interesting and obscure musical information and that includes folks that don’t particularly enjoy Music. It’s not actually that rare, nor is it a symptom of something else.
A group of researchers in Spain published findings in an edition of Current Biology, terming this condition “musical anhedonia,” a medical way of saying that someone doesn’t Music. These were generally healthy and content individuals who just don’t like Music and don’t react autonomically to it. However, the same individuals responded to other types of reward systems.
“The idea that people can be sensitive to one type of reward and not to another suggests that there might be different ways to access the reward system and that, for each person, some ways might be more effective than others,” explains one of the researchers, Josep Marco-Pallarés of the University of Barcelona.
In conclusion, Music is a subjective concept, and there’s a wide range of thoughts and experiences. Check out Switching Styles for more in-depth interviews revolving around the world of Music in all its facets.
Interview between Melvin Marsh and Dylanna Fisher
Melvin has been interviewed by top podcasts, including the famous Adam Eason of Hypnosis Weekly and is much in demand as a speaker and teacher, presenting in 2021 to the Georgia Psychological Association. Below is an interview with Melvin about his thoughts on the Star Trek universe, the purpose of Music in the series and the use of Music throughout Star Trek.
Could you tell me a bit about yourself?
[Melvin Marsh] I am an aerospace research scientist specializing in psychology who does extensive freelance work in TV, radio, film, and theatre, going back nearly 40 years. I’ve won a few awards for art (as a director) and science. I tell people I try to make science fiction a reality.
How did you first get introduced to Star Trek?
[Melvin Marsh] One of my earliest memories was Star Trek TOS being on in my house in the early 80s as my parents watched sci-fi. When I was about 3 (circa 1984), I remember watching “And the Children Shall Lead” and freaked out so bad at Uhura stressing out and then Gorgan’s appearance deteriorating that I would never watch Trek again until I was 6th grade and 11 and was introduced to TNG accidentally.
We had this little subscription that came in every week or every month in our Reading class. Sometimes, they had little plays in it. They had an abbreviated version of the TNG episode “True Q” (season 6), which was going to air, and we read the script aloud. I fell in love with Q and Data. Then I found out it was a “new” Star Trek, and the TV Guide showed TNG airing 1-3 times a night, every weeknight, on different stations, so I caught up surprisingly fast and never really lost.
So, I’ve considered myself a Trekkie since about 1993. It was an inspiration to get my MS in Space Studies.
Do you have a favourite character?
[Melvin Marsh] I have multiple favourites since I watch all the shows. Some of the characters are hard to compare across series.
Guest Star (regardless of series): Q
Star Trek the Original Series (TOS) & Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS): Uhura when I was young, then it went to Spock. In the Reboot / Kelvin Series, I prefer McCoy.
Star Trek; The Next Generation (TNG): Data
Deep Space Nine (DS9): Bashir and Odo (Honorable mention for Guest Star: Garak)
Star Trek: Voyager (VOY): Started off as Neelix, but then ended up more EMH
Enterprise (ENT): Phlox
Star Trek: Discovery (DIS): Varies by season. Season 1: Lorca, then Stamets. Season 2, Pike then Stamets. In season 3-4, Culber then Stamets. (Honorable mention for Guest Star: Reno)
Picard (PIC): The Rios Holograms. Seriously… all of them. The actor has some serious talent.
Star Trek: Lower Decks (LD): Boimler (I think because I am too much like him!)
Star Trek: Prodigy (PRO): Too early to say, but I’m leaning towards the following 3: Zero, Jankom Pog, and Murf.
What are your thoughts on the theme song?
[Melvin Marsh] It is one of the only theme songs across any TV or film that I can immediately recognize or could hum. It is very energetic and upbeat, but that could also be because TNG is the Federation and Starfleet at its peak (especially looking back on the other series and what is to come, i.e., Dominion War, the attack on Mars, and further out the Burn and near destruction of the UFP).
How does the Music add to the series?
[Melvin Marsh] I am unaware of much other Music in the series. Obviously, the characters do play instruments. I am much more aware of the different Music in Star Trek Online as they use different musical sound cues to let you know what is going on. But even then, it is only a few notes.
Why is Music important when it comes to television shows?
[Melvin Marsh] This question makes the assumption that Music is important in TV, and it’s really not. One could remove most Music from the average TV show, and there would not be much difference. I’ve done theatre, film, and for my entire life, and both parents (and a grandparent) worked in the entertainment industry. With Music, people are trying to make you feel a certain way, which can also be done via set or lighting to enhance mood. The actors should play a part as well. Often, additional Music is added when they do not think an actor is conveying emotion enough. Many people just find it annoying and overbearing. It’s no different than a laugh track.
In what ways does Star Trek portray emotions without Music?
[Melvin Marsh] Star Trek uses lights, non-music sound, and actor inflection like everyone else. You can also make the argument for makeup. There is very little Music associated with the Borg that I can remember, but one can tell by the lighting, their voice, location, and makeup that they are scary. The Music of Star Trek (outside of the themes and some of the scenes in Star Trek 2009) do not even register in my mind.
Check out other Switching Styles interviews to learn how people interact with Music.