Regarding some of the most inspirational composers and songwriters of all time, the topic of drugs often creeps up closely behind. The idea that taking a substance can miraculously help to expand the mind and assist in developing an individual’s technical ability to perform physical tasks to a higher standard. Though if you asked people today to name a recreational drug, the majority would probably say marijuana, LSD, cocaine or maybe even alcohol. Presumably, very few people would refer to a drug which people all around the world consume over one and a half billion cups of in total every day. This drug is, of course, coffee.
Now coffee is not just the second most popular commodity in the world but bizarrely it has an interesting relationship within the history of music. During the 18th century, coffee houses were in high demand in nations such as America and Britain, during the Age of Enlightenment. This ideological movement achieved a revolution in economics, an increase in the publishing of books, scientific expansion and also music.
Writer Jean-Philippe Rameau, more famously known as Voltaire, would drink approximately up to 50 cups of coffee a day. The notorious Ludwig van Beethoven, the great classical German composer, had coffee containing 60 coffee beans inside each cup. Even prior to this era, the famous Baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote a piece about his addiction to the caffeinated drink titled Kaffeekantate. This translates as Coffee Cantata, which appeared in an operatic comedic drama about a disobedient daughter. So, what is the sudden appeal to this caffeinated drink, which makes it so popular amongst musicians, especially classical composers?
Biologically, when you are awake a chemical, known as adenosine, interacts with your brain to make you more alert. Caffeine shares very similar characteristics to adenosine, except for the fact that the more adenosine there is in your brain, the more tired you get. Caffeine also creates this problem, but it also increases the production of adrenaline in your system to keep you more awake. According to Asap Science; ‘In fact, this is the exact same thing that cocaine does but to a lesser degree.’
So regardless if you’re no Bach or Beethoven, maybe these little brown beans could be the key to filling up your cup of knowledge.