What is Music?

According to the dictionary, music is “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.” Exactly! It doesn’t say “a combination of sounds blah blah blah…” but instead it’s about beauty, harmony, and expression. That is what music is, does, and should remain to be.


“You Are My One And Only”

Another example of a truly beautiful, modern song is Small Bump by Ed Sheeran. The singer is serenading his soon to be child who sadly dies after 4 months in the womb. This song has purpose; Sheeran uses music to express his love and longing for his unborn child. The gentle tune of song makes it even more touching. Combining a beautiful message with a beautiful tune is what true music is. As I have discussed many times, music is powerful and has a strong effect over us. Therefore, it only makes sense to write music about important things, and this song is a prime example of that.

Teens and Music


This link is good because it talks about the large effect music has on people, especially teens, in a secular light. I also like how it focuses on teens because the teen years are some of the most detrimental times for the development of a person. Therefore, it is imperative teens are influenced by the right things. It also emphasizes how important music is in many people’s lives, which is why I am discussing this topic. Music is such an important part of my life, and I wanna be sure I am using this gift correctly.

A Quote From Aristotle

“Music directly imitates the passions or states of the soul…when one listens to music that imitates a certain passion, he becomes imbued with the same passion; and if over a long time he habitually listens to music that rouses ignoble passions, his whole character will be shaped to an ignoble form.” – Aristotle

This quote goes along with the themes I’ve been discussing in my recent blog posts. Aristotle believed that music very much influences our passions which then influence our actions. We are a race of weak-willed people. We fall for sin extremely easily, and means such as music can make it less or more easy to do so. I have been focusing a lot on how inappropriate music has a negative effect on us, but appropriate and beautiful music can similarly have a positive effect on us! Think about when you listen to a Beethoven song and you feel the tune flow through you…it moves your good passions. Even think about when you are listening to a tender love ballad and think about your lover or even an imaginary one, you feel passions of love. This is how real music should make you feel. Music is a great thing…but like I’ve said many a time, we must discern the good from the bad. And we can do this in some way by observing how a song makes you feel.

a little summary


Everyone is always more concerned with the inappropriate lyrics of contemporary pop music, but this  article says that Plato and Aristotle “claimed that people generally and the young especially are influenced most powerfully not by the words of a song but by the music itself—the rhythm, harmony and tune.” The philosophers are not claiming that music forces the listener to do bad acts, but rather “they contend that music moves the passions,” which can make the listener have a harder time discerning right from wrong.

Plato and Aristotle believe the ultimate happiness is leisure time, but the question arises, does pop music “incapacitate the young for the kind of leisure that is at once more reasoned and truly fulfilling?” Critics today do not concern themselves enough with the effects pop music has on the human soul. The author claims that “intercourse itself is presented not only as a source of physical pleasure but also as an occasion for self-assertion, as a handy means of gratifying the body with the aid of another while simultaneously asserting one’s self by degrading that other” in today’s pop music. There is an obvious need for a call to virtue.

C.S. Lewis said that “civilization can only be preserved by people who care about things higher than civilization.” I think this is an amazing quote…we can only survive as a wholesome society if aspects in our culture, like music, reflect goodness.

At, not With


This link makes some good points about music and morality, but also takes an odd twist on the flaws in contemporary pop music. He introduces the post by quoting Plato, who claimed that music expresses and encourages vice and virtue, with which I agree. He then makes the point that we live in an era in which “judging” someone is the ultimate evil, which I think is so true. Nobody can even make a comment about the obviously messed up ways of our culture with our being called a judger.

The author uses dancing to show that pop music nowadays is not music we listen to but rather music that takes over us. We are forced to dance rather than dancing with it. Therefore “if you do submit, the moral qualities of the music vanish behind the excitement; if you listen, however, and listen critically as I have been suggesting, you will discern those moral qualities.” In other words, the immoral themes of many current songs is drilled in our brains and is more able to influence our lives because of the type of rhythm and the extent to which we listen to it.

Moral Relativism


This link deals a lot with moral relativism, which I think is very common in our society, let alone the music industry. Although the link focuses more on the actions of artists, I think his points are relatable to actual song material, as well. If everybody is singing about getting drunk and hooking up with people, then it’s okay, right? Wrong. The norms of society do not determine morality.

If we are aware that the immoral themes of songs are, in fact, immoral, does that mean we cannot listen to them? There is no definite answer. The actions in the song are wrong, not hearing about the actions. But there is definitely still something wrong with the song. Listening to profanity, first of all, desensitizes us the immoral actions, making it more likely for us to do them. It also supports the artist, which promotes him to write more immoral music. It is also abuse of such a beautiful thing. We have talked a lot about how music is a great and powerful gift from God, and to taint it so harshly is anything but good.

That being said, I have admittedly listened to “bad” songs and sang along with them, too. It’s tricky business. I would just say be careful what you listen to. If it makes you uncomfortable, especially, turn it off.