The history of music is very long. It is linked to history of language. When man began to speak, he started observing different sounds around him. The sound of water falling from a hill top, the sound of the birds, the sound of the tides, the sound of the wind and the sound of the animals. These observations led him to invent one of the most magical things in the world- Music. So the concept of music is not something new. It has been a long evolutionary process. Since ages, music has been developing across the globe, in different nations, among different linguistic groups, among different ethnicities.
Close your eyes for a bit and think about what could be the definition of music? In the words of Plato, “Music is the moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” Truly, music is a refuge, a medium of escape to peace and serenity. A form of meditation. It can be defined as an instrument that helps to ease the soul, an instrument that has the power to clear the mind of all thoughts and tensions and to offer tranquility. Let’s do another task. First of all let us ask a middle aged or an old aged person as to what is the first thought that comes to their mind when they think of the word music? Then let us ask a young boy as to what image is created in his mind when he thinks of the term ‘music’?
The answers would differ drastically. In the first case, the person would say that when he thinks of music, he reminded of musical instruments like the harmonium or the flute or probably a violin. When he thinks of music, he sees himself sitting next to his radio set and enjoying some classical instrumental music. Only instruments and no words. What a magical moment! Or he is reminded of those old movies of his times, which had soft and melodious songs with beautiful lyrics, composed by highly trained musicians and lyricists who used to leave no stone unturned to produce a meaningful yet appealing piece of art. For that person, listening to music is relieving yourself from pain. It is like giving a gentle massage to the brain and even to the body. On the contrary, the second case would have a different story to tell. For that young boy, the first thing that would come to his mind when he would think of music will be probably a guitar or headphones. Even for me music means loud music, fast music, pop music and rock music. It means peppy dancing numbers, it means musical concerts, it means rap. For the young generation today, music has a totally different connotation. If the music is not loud, loud enough to burst our ears, it is not music. If the music doesn’t have rap in it, such a rap which seems as if a small child is asked to speak a 30 word sentence is 5 seconds, eventually ending up in making no sense to anyone, we don’t call it music. If the music is soft, we feel it’s boring and is meant for people who had a ‘heart break’. If a musical piece is purely instrumental, we feel sleepy.
So what should we go with? Who is correct in giving the right definition of music? Should our parents and grandparents be given the credits or is it our generation that is correct. Honestly speaking, I don’t believe what we listen to should be referred to as music. I am not against the current trend. Even I am a huge fan of Pitbull and Eminem. Even I can’t do without loud and peppy songs. Even I love to listen to music with 100% volume on my laptop. But if we look carefully, does it serve the purpose? Does the music we listen to actually soothe our soul? If you come have had a bad day at office and you are extremely disappointed at the fact that you could not make the deal, after coming back home, would you like to a rocking number at the maximum volume and then dance with your wife on the song, or would you like to lie in bed and listen to soft music to ease yourself and let go off all your worries and anger. If you come back from college, extremely exhausted with your head spinning around with immense pain, would you want your brother to put up loud music for you so that your head aches more or would you like to go to sleep with a soft song playing in your earphones? Countless health surveys have been done on how loud music targets the brain, the heart and of course the ears. It is not only harmful for us, but also for the people around us, especially the old. Obviously, I am not suggesting you to give up on the rock music completely and revert back to the ‘old fashioned’ slow songs, but a balance needs to be made between the both. And when Maya Angelou said that “music is my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness”, she was obviously referring to soft and subtle music and not to what we consider ‘hep music’ today.