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Mar 05

How Music Helped Civilization

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Ever since the first ad hoc drums were beaten, ever since the first chants were heard, music has held people together. Be it as a race, a village, even a religion; music has always played an important part. Even back to the earliest man, music has been used to inform the masses; to share experiences. Today, music can influence the way we dance, dress, talk and even set the tone for various cultures.

Music of a Particular Time

Regardless of what the status of a society is, i.e. peace, war, growing, stagnating and so forth, music seems to reflect the exact opposite. Perhaps this is because when times are bad people need happy energetic music to keep them going and when times are good, people are more able to tolerate music that reflects bad times past and possibly future. Consider Mozart’s music; it is without question considered to be some of the most beautiful music ever written. Now consider Beethoven. Both composers had difficult lives often broke and expelled from society for refusing to conform. Now look at current popular bands such as Black Sabbath and Cradle of Filth. Both band’s songs seem to focus on violence and other sad situations.

Poetry of the Music

How Does Music Affect Society?

Music is art and like all other forms of art, the impression it leaves lasts forever. Obviously some forms of music, some songs leave a longer lasting impression than others. Music affects people by the type of music they chose to listen to. In general, the choice of music can indicate a person’s mood. Per Plato, “If you want to measure the spiritual depth of society, make sure to mark its music.”

Different Cultures, Different Music

Since time began, in every corner of the world, cultures have used music to differentiate themselves from their neighbors. Pictographs in caves show people playing musical instruments. These caves–many of which are found in Asia–depict some of the oldest artifacts known to man. Something far more complex than a bowl or an item of clothing. An item crafted with one purpose in mind: Entertainment. While there are countless forms of music played in countless cultures they all have seem to have one thing in common: To bring people together.

 

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Music as Communication

History tells us that many cultures used musical instruments to communicate the arrival of strangers or an attacking force, but more common was using music to bring people together to communicate. As we became more adept at composing and playing music, our individual tastes were allowed to blossom exhibiting that different people like different music. Fans of one musical genre formed social groups and movements. The bottom line is that besides being delightful, soothing and even energizing, music is created by cultures and music creates cultures itself.

Trisha Laird writes articles about music appreciation. If you’re a music lover and believe it to be a universal language, go to http://www.christmassongs.org/contemporary/jazz to find a great selection of holiday jazz music.

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