Music – The One Language The World Speaks


in Information

You do not have to travel too far from your home to notice that the language you are hearing spoken has changed slightly from what you are used to. It might be that some words are pronounced slightly differently or there are different, colloquial words being used that you don’t recognise, yet you should still be able to understand the language and be able to hold a conversation with someone from the area.

Local accents and dialects can differ only a few miles apart, take the difference in accents between towns like Manchester and Liverpool for example. Change that few miles into a few thousand miles and you find that the language has totally altered and you are unable to understand the words that are being spoken, and all hope of holding a two way conversation is lost.

Of course there are some gestures that are recognised and understood around the world, such as the gesture we make when we need a drink for example. Yet there is something that’s pitch, timbre and rhythm can convey messages worldwide: music.

Proven Results

There have been a number of experiments where pieces of music have been extracted from one culture and taken into a culture where the medium is not as well developed, such as rural Africa for example. 

Though any lyrics have not been understood the music told the story. By listening to the way that the music moves, its tempo, rhythm and melody, those that were listening were able to explain what they thought the music was trying to convey. They were able to identify emotion and mood from what they were hearing.

They could describe whether the music was happy and joyous, if it was in celebration of something or on the flip side whether the mood was melancholy. Music written to commemorate a sad event struck the right emotions with the audience, even though they had no knowledge of the actual event.

For all of the pieces of music that were played, descriptions of the emotions and imagery that the music painted in their imaginations were taken, showing that the music had conveyed the message it was meant to without the need for spoken word.

As Shakespeare Said…

Perhaps that old statement about music being the food of love is not too far from the truth. Music can be used to mirror our emotions and convey the way that we are feeling without the need for words. Music draws us in to the mood, and we are subject to the emotions that it brings forth.

Perhaps this is why people are so often referred to as being lost in music, as though the music takes over and leads us where it wants us to go, filling our minds with images to accompany the sounds. This is one of the reasons why music is added to films and television series’ as it manages to tell us exactly what the mood of the moment is without us having to be told.

Alistair Menzies is a bit of a music junkie – he loves all types of genres and all sorts of bands. 

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