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.
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.
“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.
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.
Today I would like to talk about a certain song in particular. The song is Oblivion by Bastille. (If you don’t listen to this band, you should check them out.)
In this ballad, the singer serenades his lover. He asks her if she is “going to age with grace” because he plans on being with her for years to come. He then implies that she is going through a lot of emotional pain, maybe depression. He wants to fully be there for her, but he knows that is impossible. He wants to follow her into “oblivion.”
Most every song you hear nowadays is about love/attraction/sex/etc. and this song is a prime example of a beautiful love song. It is obvious that the singer actually loves the girl because of how much he wants to be there for her. It is also refreshing that the song deals with realistic themes in a relationship, like one of the partners going through a hard time. The sweet and graceful tune combined with the touching lyrics makes for an awesome song. This is music.
This link address why music makes us feel. It is such a good question…I wonder this all the time. The link does not answer the question, however, because we don’t know the answer. But, it does link the emotional power of music to speech and movement. In other words, it may make us feel because it reminds us of other people or the things around us.
It’s something about the melodies and rhythms that make music so appealing. Certain sounds have certain connotations. But I have no idea why we like rhythm…maybe because we like pattern? Maybe music is just s representation of life; everything we like in life, we like in music. Just a theory.
“If music be the fruit of love, play on”
Everyone knows this quote said by Orsino in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The play starts and ends with music…even Shakespeare knew the power of music. Music really is the fruit of love, especially love of God. I really like this quote. I think it captures the essence of music, and very simply. We should really think of this quote when we hear music. It will help us appreciate its power much more.