Music in General
Music has been a part of self expression in all parts of the world for centuries. Musical artifacts found have been dated back thousands of years. As well, artifacts have shown that cultured have focused on specific instruments and unique methods of playing. As different as the methods and sounds were in different parts of the world, it is clear that music has always played to role of bringing people together.
Music was greatly used in religious practices throughout the history of the world. Each culture’s involvement in music has contributed to its development, each unique to the next. As cultures became familiar with one another and the world became to seem smaller these styles have come to influence one another. For example, the blue-grass sound in the United States was brought together from a blend of which is a blend of Irish, Scottish, German, and African-American playing and singing.
Society is and has been so deeply connected with music that it is difficult to say whether music affects the different cultures or if the cultures are reflected in the music.
The entire topic of music, with its causes and effects, is very complex. To say that music can influence an entire society is a big generalization. For, as society progresses so does its music. The musical technology of each society has gotten much more advanced in this digital age, and people can listen to intricate sound recordings at anytime, in any setting. So complex is the musical setting today that an individual has the opportunity to choose a specific genre that most appeals to them. Many different aspects of society can influence an individual’s preferences, i.e. radio, television, and other media sources.(1)
Music's Innovative Methods of Influencing Change in Society
Music was first introduced as a method of change most prominently in the 1960’s when the Civil Rights Movement was going full blast and many people wanted to speak their opinions about the extremely unpopular war in Vietnam.
During this time a new genre of music was founded; folk music. This music was directly aimed, played, and written for the general public, as a way to get a message to the masses through the expression of music. This was the first large-scale occurrence of music being used to inspire and move people towards a specific cause. The public awareness of radical change in society initiated the desire for individualistic expression. Music’s purpose reached beyond that of capitalism and material luxuries; it dawned idealistic thinking, reassuring liberty, individuality, and representation. The youth, in particular, of the American society during this time, illustrated a diversity of approving responses. During this time, an amerce society was altered deeply in a way that lasted a very long time; ethnic and natural textiles or embroidered clothing became popular; the youth’s awareness of adult actions compromised their innocence; overall, power of authority and structures were discarded. This overall trend shows allows one to understand how music can affect change in society.
Since the 1960’s and 70’s the folk genre has, for the most part, faded into history. In the current era the huge influx of technology is allowing for more extreme and unique styles of music and expression. Music is constantly affecting society, in many diverse and subtle ways.(2)
Music's Foundation and Impact on Society
Music is considered to be a vital method of expression; it holds prominence in all regiond around the world. Music establishes a group's cultural identity by revealing past events and by distingushing the different societies from surrounding people. Music is also considered to be dynamic by changing consistently as people and societal aspects evolve over time. It is interesting to believe that the ancient Greeks thought that music and different modes of music could affect a person's mood. Today we understand that the inspirations and emotions that music proposes to its audience is culturally precise. The message behind a work of music can be revived from the past, and in the culture of society. In general, life circumstances of the various, indigneous people listening to native music are an important feature of the music. Nonetheless, music is a direct form of communication, processing sounds fabricated by the people of a community that are comprehensible by others. The branch of anthropology that deals with the scientific description of specific human cultures (Ethnography) classifies music not only by the recording of a piece, but also the recording of how it was developed and created, its influence in society, and its overall purpose.
Additionally, music and various musical genres have had the opportunity of spreading to diverse regions of the globe by the migration of people. As members of a community departed and moved to new, unfamiliar territories, a sharing of music with other people from different cultures, released the innovation of varying musical styles. Furthermore, influences from unique cultures and societies can be identified in various genres of music. (3)
(1) “How music affects society.” The Music Guidebook. 2009. 1 Apr. 2009 <http://www.musicguidebook.com/articles/how-music-affects-society>.
(2)“How music affects society.” The Music Guidebook. 2009. 1 Apr. 2009 <http://www.musicguidebook.com/articles/how-music-affects-society>.
(3)“Music: a fundamental activity of humankind.” Minnesota State University. 1 Apr. 2009 <http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/music/index.shtml>.