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I would be willing to bet that one out of every five people in this world has an iPod of some sort or some other form of portable music device. An incredibly large amount of those people are probably losing their hearing slowly, day by day, due to this speculation (“…huh?”). But it isn’t the volume of their music that concerns me. In fact, I could honestly care less what people listen to or how loud. I don’t mean it to be offensive, of course. But your choices are your own. Either way, music means more than most people give it credit for.

According to dictionary.com’s iPod app, music is defined as such: an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color (definition 1). Let’s take a moment to think about this. Since when was the last time you thought of the music you’re listening to as an art form? Most people don’t think of it as such, although I’m not saying you don’t. If you have thought about music as an art recently, good for you. It takes a lot of actual thinking about thinking to approach music as an art form. It doesn’t come naturally to many of us humans.

Moving on, music expresses. That shouldn’t surprise people these days. Rap music is just that: somebody talking with a few rhymes, a background beat, and boom, there’s some rap for ya. Even some newer pop music is like that. Now, please don’t take this as me saying I hate rap. Because I don’t. It’s certainly for specific audiences, I think, but it’s not bad music at all. More importantly than just the rap genre, music is here to express our ideas and emotions. All music is used to get points across to the listener. Most of the time, this is a pretty basic concept. But, like I said, this is only most of the time. Sometimes, music is just here to entertain (and believe me, I’ve got some pretty entertaining music on my playlist). But music is more than just an art form.

Music is communication. It’s a different medium for conversation, for the translation and transmission of our thoughts. These mediums come in the forms of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color, according to my nifty app. Rhythm is something most people are innately born with, and it’s even easier to find and locate in music. Especially with the help of video games like Guitar Hero and Rockband. It comes in small toys we get our children, with a pull-lever that releases and emits a nifty song—and usually one that tends to get stuck in our heads all day. Rhythm comes naturally to us.

Melody, according go dictionary.com, is the next medium. Along with rhythm, the melody of a song is usually easy to identify. Most tunes for the younger people of our world, like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” are very recognizable and memorizable; most adults could at least hum the melody, if not sing the actual words. Melody is easy.

Harmony in music can be a little more difficult to pick out. This isn’t based off the harmony married couples (sometimes attempt to) experience; it’s the other way around. A perfect harmony involves, scientifically speaking, exact wavelengths played together. To an untrained ear, the pitches don’t need to be exact. But to those people who play instruments, for instance, a pitch must be perfect before harmony is created. Believe it or not, even most pianos are, technically speaking, out of tune. But most people don’t even know this, and even fewer can actually tell. A perfect harmonic pitch is one of the most beautiful sounds ever heard upon this earth. I strongly urge you to find a way to listen to perfect harmony, and I’d be more than happy to help find examples in which you can hear this amazing, natural phenomenon.

The last bit about music that my app says is color. Music is colorful? Believe it or not, it has just as much color as a painting. But this color is visible to everyone who can hear. And even those who cannot (I believe it was Mozart who was deaf, but I’m not entirely sure). If you’ve ever watched a movie and paid any attention whatsoever, you probably noticed this. Chances are, it’s a subconscious sort of awareness. Most film soundtracks have some sort of dissonance in them. And it’s from this dissonance that colors are created. Colors of sound. It’s an amazing thing to notice! If you aren’t for sure if you’ve ever noticed this, ask me or some piano player to play a major chord, then a minor chord. That’s all it takes. Given the right expressiveness, this creates more sonorous colors than visible to the eye. And it is actually worth the few moments of time it takes to hear these colors.
So the next time you listen to music, pay attention to what it is you’re listening to. There are good chances that whatever it is has many more, deeper levels to it than you’ve ever noticed. Music is becoming so influential in today’s society, but the actual definition of it is being misconstrued. It’s time that gets changed!

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2 Comments

  1. I really liked what you said about music as being a way of communication. This is so true because where words fail music speaks. i like to think I am a sensitive guy (not too sensitive because I am a man right?) but I love music. I Believe music is a force in this world used to conjure certain feelings and emotions. There is a song for every occasion and I absolutely love it.

  2. I also liked this article. I love music of all kinds. To think of it as a medium of communication has come across my mind, though never labelled with that title.


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