Walter Werzowa: There’s no end to what human creativity can accomplish.
The language of music is said to speak not in words, but emotions. It holds all the keys to the spirit, to the soul, to the heart. Walter Werzowa, the Austrian composer, producer, and owner of the music production house Musikvergnuegen in Los Angeles, has an unparalleled connection to the power of music and the many possibilities it opens up for humanity.
Musikvergnuegen translates to music enjoyment. It was born in the early 1990s and now leads the music industry in audio branding, custom scoring, and sound design for film, broadcast, advertising, and virtual reality. One of Walter’s first projects was coming up with a three-second melody for the processor company Intel, a task he and his team worked on for two months to perfect. That electric, innovative, and energetic jingle became one of the world’s most widely heard and instantly recognized sonic logos in the world, and remains so to this day. The mnemonic itself is what stood the test of time, rather than the melody.
Creativity is a common thread that connects us all around the world. Is it an emotional connection? Is it chemical? Mathematical? Walter believes it’s a combination of all three, and he likened this concept to Sonophilia’s work.
“Music and creativity – especially music – is just the language which allows us to express things [logically], in an immediate way,” Walter told Sonophilia. “We don’t find the words for it. I’d rather express myself with sound and music than with words. I think creativity is a need. We need to express ourselves. And we’ve always had that need.”
There is no end to what human creativity can accomplish, especially when we consider the degree to which technology has always evolved. Just take, for example, the goose feather with which Beethoven used to write his incredible scores; the feather would be taken from the left side of the bird because it curved in a way that helped right-handed people write. Is this not a brilliant form of technology, a product of its own time?
Today’s most prominent form of technology, artificial intelligence, must be taken with a pinch of salt. AI with relation to human creativity holds both great possibilities and a certain level of controversy. Walter, who is one of the primary people working on finishing Beethoven’s 10th symphony using AI tools and algorithms as a testament to the great composer’s 250th anniversary, shared his insight on the topic.
“If you tell the AI to do something meaningful, it will be incredibly meaningful,” he said. “The beauty is that it helps us to be more creative. Ultimately we want to make this available to anybody in the world. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we all would be creative? I think it would take aggression down. It would make this a better world.”
But what is that triggering element that sparks so many wonderful ideas? For Walter, this happened when his youngest son was diagnosed with a rare bone disease. He and his wife opted to try out music therapy, osteopathy, a strict diet, and acupuncture as a treatment regimen. The treatment for this particular kind of disease, which usually takes four to six years, saw his son running within a year.
“That’s something we can do with music so powerfully. Health systems work on engines [where you] can get immediate feedback and really hone into your world and get you the music and the sounds you need at the moment… to change your breathing patterns or to get your brainwaves to a certain state, to make you fall asleep or get focused, or even in Parkinson’s [disease], to allow you to take the next step, to be a conductor in your mind, in your consciousness, that you have that power and the conviction.”
Inspired, Walter founded HealthTunes to bring evidence-based music medicine to the foreground. Depending on a patient’s condition, HealthTunes streams audio that aims to improve physical and mental health. In short, they prescribe music and sound therapies just as medicine would be, with a scheduled dosage and duration period.
“Music has an immediate effect even before the tones reach our consciousness because they trigger an emotional [and chemical] reaction in our brains,” Walter noted. “Scientists found there’s a process in our brain that we produce when we listen to melancholic music: prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone which… does something which no medication can do. It doesn’t delete information. It reframes it. We get to see the world from a different angle in a sense. We reframe a challenge or trauma. It’s interesting that we can do it chemically.”
Music has inherent healing power. When we stop to consider this natural phenomenon and the conditions under which it occurs, we can begin to understand the relationship between psychology and creativity. We can take the inherent personalization factor of our creativity and put it to practical use.