What is music? It seems like such an easy question to answer. I mean it's such a common part of everyone's lives, but does anyone really think about what music really is?
If you simply look up the definition on Google Dictionary, you'll get " vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion." or "the written or printed signs representing vocal or instrumental sound."
Wikipedia goes a little more in depth saying, " Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. In general definitions of music will include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements."
If you look in the Urban Dictionary, you get a more accurate answer in my opinion, Something the world would be lost without." I'll have to admit, this definition made me smile when I read it, but I still don't feel it really gets to what music really is to me. I don't know if I can really express it myself.
As far back as history can record, every culture had music. It was and will always be a natural part of being human. We're drawn to this form of expression like an animal drawn to water.
When I was about twelve or thirteen, I remember going to my dads shows. I was just a child sitting at the front row every Sunday while the adults around me enjoyed the end of their weekend. I spent much of that time watching the crowd more than I watched the band. It was amazing seeing how they reacted to different parts of the music being played. I used to try to guess what they were thinking. I realized really quick I was never right to guess their thoughts. I should have been focusing on figuring out what they were feeling. This helped me so much later in life as I started to entertain and sing myself.
Many think of it as a connection with others. It's the memory of an iconic moment in their lives. A formless physical thing that can take them to a feeling thought to be long forgotten. (Good Morning Beautiful still takes me back to my first kiss as a young boy)
Others see it as a form of hope. Every lyric placed on their timelines to show a brighter tomorrow or a willingness to accept the way things are in the present. This is powerful because many lyrics can be taken from the original meaning in the actual song. It could literally be one part that connected to a single emotion and change the entire world in a single persons mind.
Even a happy song can bring sorrow when it is connected to a loved one who was lost or is simply missed. Music scholars will tell you in order to hit this emotion songs have to be written with that intent. Well if that is true, explain how Meredith Brooks Bitch can still put a lump in my throat and shivers down my spine. (Lauren, I will always think of you)
We turn it loud when we showing off, upset or mad. Quiet when we're present, content or sad. It brings us peace when we want to clear our minds and chaos when we want to say f#$# the world. There is so much power in this organization of sounds and silence.
It pushes us when we want to break our limits. It stops us when we simply need to reflect. Provides hope when we lose faith, and motivation when we need that little nudge. There is no portrayal of emotion more accurate and no activity more practiced.
Whatever your thoughts are on what music is, you can't deny it's hold on us. It's the original dream for most children and the hobby that doesn't have to be a career. It is just part of being. It's as natural as breathing
Most of all, it is valued as a form of escapism. It pulls them away from the memories of a broken heart. It distracts them while their past drifts further and further away. Sometimes it's the only lifeline a young child has to get past the peer pressures of life that make them want to literally lose their minds. As an adult it reminds me that I have more to offer this world than a time sheet.
It takes us away from our ideas of what the world has to be and puts us back in the state of mind of a child full of dreams and possibilities. It makes us believe again that our lives are not a single line that must follow a certain path, but more of a wave able to travel through the obstacles of life and covering every path within earshot.
Whatever your thoughts are on what music is, you can't deny it's hold on us. It's the original dream for most children and the hobby that doesn't have to be a career. It is just part of being. It's as natural as breathing.