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Music is significant in all cultures. Music and society have long had a close link. It considers and generates social conditions that include aspects that might either impede or facilitate social transformation. The advancement and improvement of music recording technology has altered the way people access music in society; practically all types of music may now be accessed twenty-four hours a day with the flip of a switch. Mary Pipher (2014) emphasizes the role of music in cultures in her book Writing to Change the World.Just like the power of words we speak or write, music has the power to bring people together, inspire and preserve our cultures, sooth us and present us with visions of a better world. This study seeks to explore the roles music plays in the society and its effects on cultures. It also aims at identifying the effects of specific kinds of music and how they impact on the individual and the society at large.
Music is important at the level of the social group as it facilitates communication that can go beyond words; promote the maintenance and development of an individual, society, cultural and national identities. Music is important at the individual level as it is capable of inducing movement, emotional, physiological, behavioral and cognitive responses to the individual. The power of music has also been experienced in therapeutic stimulation. Music listening therapy has been adopted in order to heal souls and restore peace of mind. Music can be effectively used in collaboration with other therapeutically interventions to promote anxiety alleviation, relaxation, pain reduction in dentistry and medicine and the promotion of well being through the production of certain groups pf endorphins. Music has also be successfully used in the promotion of behaviors that are appropriate in vulnerable groups in order to enhance the quality of their live and the lives of those who might nit fully benefit from medical interventions (Watanabe, Mary, Goines, Raymond, and Fox.).
Music has the capacity to play an important role in the development of humans during their initial years in life. The early interactions between mothers and their children have a significant musical quality that is of most help to the children in the development of their communication skills. The active involvement in the making of music helps individuals in self-esteem enhancements and promotes the development of a wide range of social and transferable skills. The act of listening to quite and relaxing background music helps in the improvement of performance in academic tasks whereas exciting music is capable of impacting negative academic performance. Loud and exciting music can as well interfere with the memorization skills of an individual (Watanabe et al).
Music has the potential of mood manipulation, stress reduction and boredom alleviation while one is undertaking repetitive of tedious tasks. It creates an environment that is conducive for every social occasion hence music is essential in enhancing the quality of lives.
Slavery was a form of forced labor that was exercised by the European nations among Africans. The slaves were denied the right to receive wages and enjoy a meaningful life. So much information has been documented in history ranging from writing records of ancient times. For he purposes of comfort and endurance, the slaves engaged in composing music in order to preserve the cultures of the societies that aware obtained from. These musical compositions were essential for their encouragement during those thought times (Charters).
Slave songs were essentially developed to help with the reduction of boredom and enhance the work production of the saves. These songs also created a sense of togetherness and familiarity among the slave workers. The slave songs composed by the African Americans were mainly created in the seventieth century during the slave era. Many of the composers sung these songs t remind them of their traditions. Some of the slaves were also made to sing the slave songs by their masters in order to boost their morale and increase work productivity. The slave songs also acted as means of endurance and the used this avenue to express their anger and frustrations by the use of verbal signs in the songs they sung (Charters).
Having a deep and far fetched historical perspectives, the slave songs eventually led t the development of spirituality that acted as a basis for Christianity that led to modern day blues and gospels. Foot stamping and the clapping of hands accompanied the emergence of religious songs from the slave songs. The slaves developed their own ways of worshiping in their native languages and accompanied their prayers with native songs. The Africa slaves took the opportunity of music to give testimonies and worship their deities and gods. These slave songs were eventually classified as social, jubilee and work songs. The slaves while working in the fields sang the slave work songs. This was done to help them give back community freedom and hope. The social songs composed by the salves were made up of messages that brought togetherness and jubilee songs they sung in the church whilst offering their prayers (Charters).
Music in the 1960's greatly varied from the modern day music. Protest music was amongst the available and most popular music during that era. Protests were conducted in order to inspire people in making change in a multitude of issues that were affecting people during the 1960's. Protest music were basically composed I form of simple songs about the injustices experience in the United States during the 1960's. Examples of protests songs include Masters of War, Blowing In the Wind, Talking World War III Blues, and The Times They Are A-Changing etc (Carawan, Guy, Candie Carawan, Julian Bond, and Reece).
The success of protest songs was highly reported during their time. This music was made by ordinary Americans from the northern regions to address the issues of racism and the horrors of injustices that were faces in the southern parts of America. The protests songs were of more help to the protestors as they attracted more white support in the civil right movements. Only a Pawn in the Game, a song sung by Bob Dylan that talked about African American civil rights activist who was murdered in Mississippi led to advancement in the civil right movements. He protest songs saw the development of political influence led by Dr. Martin Luther King, who through the support of the protest songs, gave a famous and powerful "I Have A Dream" Speech. The protest songs composed by Bob Dylan were of much help to the Americans who were experiencing oppressions through racial discriminations. These songs spread the popularity of the cause of discriminations and eventually led to the creation of solution from the civil rights movement and the political influence that was impacted by the protest songs.
Looking back, the movements formed from the composition of protest songs are remembered up to today through the songs imposed and the artists who composed them. The current peaceful changes that are being experienced today results from the musical compositions that were inspired by the historical oppressions. These songs brings history to us today as they help the people in the society to reflect on where they are coming from as far as historical struggles for freedom is concerned (Carawan et al).
From the above outcomes, it is evident that the American protest songs and any other society that composed such songs affected their psyches by challenging the views that were previously established. Protest songs have provided space for social and civil movements, political expression and have acted as a means of uniting people for a common cause. They are used as instruments of progress through the centuries and have acted in building one another in the society through the implementation of social change.
Hip-Hop Music and Culture
Hip-Hop has been phenomenological viewed by the black youths as an ideological way of lie that is centered on emotional catharsis. This type of music was born in the ghetto to address issues of faced by American children living the ghettos. Such issues addressed included anger, sex, drugs, alienation and basically any issue that could affect children and families living n such areas. Children of color faced a multitude of oppressions ranging from societal racial discrimination, injustices and lack of equity in the distribution and access of basic resources like education and healthcare. These families have the desire to make their world a better place and not merely buy into the dominant values expressed by the mainstream (Rausch).
Rappers who want to change the world in order to suit their vision and create conducive place for themselves and their families mainly compose hip-Hop songs. Children and adults alike find such songs interesting and they uphold them by staying true to their instincts towards change and rebellion. Hip-hop has been made locally in the ghettos and promoted in the global scope. Through its advancement, creative touchstone for edgy, aggressive and progressive youth culture has been on the rise globally.
Hip-Hop music has been essential through both crude and innovative ways, in framing the perspectives if black youths in terms of social injustices in their personal lives and local communities. These youths use hip-hop as cathartic space to discuss personal issues and larger societal social structural concerns. It has in the past and still offers a nontraditional way of understanding the psychology of the black youth by the black psychologists and especially the cognizance of the black youths from the urban environments (Rausch).
Hip-Hop has also bee used in the society by the composers as an opportunity for economic relevance in the society. Many people have encountered death thesis through the influence of the entrepreneurial ingenuity that has been demonstrated and massively expressed by the hip-hop community members. Street rappers not only come to the hip hop industry to express the social concerns in their lives and that of their societies but also establish notions of resiliency through the acquisition of economic relevance and opportunities that comes with it. Some of the greatest example of economic resiliency in the industry of hip-hip is seen in the endeavors of Jay Z (Shawn Carter). Carter has developed one of the most successful business empires in the hip-hop and the larger entertainment industry (Rausch).
Music is an essential tool in the promotion of culture in every society. It is used as an avenue of expression in addressing the issues affecting an individual and the society at large. From infancy, music plays a role in individual and societal development. The pertinent intimate relationship between humans and music in inevitable. Various type of music has been composed in a large array of contexts to address maters of interest. Protest music has been fond to be efficient in the expression of social injustices resulting from political and societal dominances. Such songs have led in the mergence and development of civil right movements that eventually brought change t the affected societies in the form of freedom. The slaves in their workstations used slave songs. They brought comfort to them and helped them to bond in remembrance of their traditions. They were also source of motivations that enabled them to effectively complete their assigned duties. Hip-Hop and rap music originated with the black American rappers whose intentions were to express social injustices they faced. The development of this music has facilitated the progress and promotion of cultures in the society. It is therefore important to conclude that music is indeed an essential component of culture.
Carawan, Guy, Candie Carawan, Julian Bond, and Florence Reece. Sing for Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Its Songs. Montgomery, Ala: New South Books, 2007. Print.
Charters, Samuel. Songs of Sorrow: Lucy Mckim Garrison and Slave Songs of the United States. , 2015. Internet resource.
Pipher, Mary. Writing to Change the World. New York: Riverhead Books, 2014. Internet resource.
Rausch, Andrew J. I Am Hip-Hop: Conversations on the Music and Culture. , 2011. Internet resource.
Watanabe, Mary, Leonard Goines, Raymond F. Kennedy, and Patrick Fox. Music and Culture. Chicago: CLEARVUE & SVE, 2005. Internet resource.
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