MUS 161: Music Appreciation

I agree with the comment made in class: “Music is whatever you want it to be.” Music can symbolize a moral, or a way of life. It can be played for certain ceremonies, or occasions. It can be intended, and interpreted in many different ways. We all internalize music differently, and this makes it a dynamic and amazing creation. I don’t think the human race can survive without it.

I have always listened to music to enhance my own feelings. This can be for personal reflection, or entertainment. There are certain types of music that feel like “home.” The lyrics and the melody connect to my personality and make me feel something. Other times, I listen to music that is fun, but not of “substance”—like the difference between rich literature and a gossip magazine. Substance verses entertainment.

Its purpose is to relay a feeling, a message, or a theme of our culture. Since culture inspires us, we translate that into our creations. Even if a piece is written to entertain, our humor is still influenced by what our culture finds humorous. If we are inspired by another culture’s music, we are still biased to how we view music, and therefore Americanize that piece. A chant from a Tibetan monk is soothing, spiritual, and calming. Though, I don’t understand the culture in depth, and therefore cannot begin to understand what that chant means to him.

Music is an eye into our soul, but our own prejudices and conditioning can often times deafen our ears to the true meaning behind music, as well.

Part of Music Appreciation is understanding our own definition of music and its role in our lives. In your opinion, what is music? What role does it play in your everday life? What is music’s purpose in your life, in our society, in our culture?

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6 thoughts on “MUS 161: Music Appreciation

  1. Music, to me, is everything. It can reflect my mood or affect my mood. There are songs, tunes and melodies that instantly transport me to places or times in my life. Some conjure up imagery of films I adore or people I have associated with a particular song.

    I have always expressed that my CD collection is what I would take out of the burning building; once I had of course ensured everyone else had made it out alive.

  2. I love music for how evocative it is. Very often the things I try to capture in writing are emotionally present in music…hence why I have a chapter-by-chapter playlist for my current WIP, haha! Music must be the most perfect art form, for how well it can transport us and shake our foundations when it’s done well.

    I also come from a musical family. Composers and pro musicians and the like. I’ve been in some kind of musical group for as long as I can remember (currently assistant choir director at church, yeah!), so I have a strong connection with the mechanics of music that relates to how I view life and my work; the meter, the tempo, the lyricism and melody and harmony, the resolutions and irresolutions…it’s a perfect allegory for our experiences. Ultimately, we are all merely players of different instruments and types. :)

  3. This is very true! Thank you for commenting! :) I’m currently learning about meter, tempo, and the like, and coming from a non-musical family-it’s a bit of a struggle. However, I feel that those who are familiar with the “ways” are blessed.

  4. Hi Jennifer,

    Next to words I would have to say that music is my favorite thing. The definition of music is organized noise. When you think about the inifnite ways that “noise” can be arranged and how it can evoke certain emotions, with or without lyrics, it’s mind boggling.

    Music is a lexicon for me. Like Mark said, certain songs take me back to certain times, places and people in my life. Music connects us and lets us know we are not alone and importanly for me, it ties me to my culture, my people, or ALL people, as it were. I need it to feel good almost everyday. It’s like sunlight :).

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