From the Beatles to Elvis Presley, music touches the lives of everyone. Man’s inextricable relations with music started out long ago in ancient times. Evidence suggests that music was revered in the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia, Music was seen as a divine association often accompanied by songs of worships to Gods. Music is something that transcends languages, geographical boundaries and ethnic differences. It helps us to connect as one people, and binds men around the world with the strings of a common humanity.
Starting out with our past relations with music, many cultures and religions have a rich background of music. For example, in the ancient Hindu civilizations in India, devotion to music was often viewed as devotion to God. So, one is not amazed to know that people venerated Saraswati, the goddess of music who was depicted playing the veena. Music is integral to not only Hindu and Buddhist hymns but also Christian carols sung on Christmas and Easter. Music finds its place in numerous myths and folklore. In Greece and China, legends talk of music putting monsters to sleep and possessing immense magical powers.
The genius of music can never be overestimated. It allows people having deep artistic talents to express their love for the arts. Brilliant composers like Mozart and Beethoven come to mind. People like Ray Charles brought value to society through their wonderful music. The harmonies delve in the heart and they bring out the true essence of the human soul.
In the modern context, music helps to bring attention to pertinent social ills by lending a voice to the oppressed in society to reach out to the masses. It may force us to introspect and try to address such issues. A famous example brought to mind is that of the African-American rapper, Jay-Z who through his song “99 Problems” brings to the helm, several social ills in American society like crime, racial discrimination, widening inequality and poverty. Other songs like “Waiting for the World to Change” by John Meyer and “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas urge people to look into modern day evils. The famous Live Earth concerts helped address the environmental crisis that we face today. Songs like “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park appeals to people to renew and replenish. “Janie’s got a Gun” by Aerosmith talks of a pertinent social ill, incest. This shows that even seemingly superficial modern day pop music has value and depth.
Music also provides emotional and psychological relief from today’s rat race. In our modern mundane lives where everybody chases money and seeks to consume and satisfy greed, music is like a breath of fresh air. Some songs like “Dream On” by Aerosmith, “Stronger” by Kanye West and “Time of Our Life” by Greenday inspire us to be strong in life and pursue our dreams until we achieve them. Moreover, music gives rise to romantic feelings in our increasingly emotionless lives. It has an immense power to arouse genuine emotions and brings relief in today’s world of anxiety.
Even the most intellectual and objective endeavour of humanity involves music. The latest theories in physics about the laws of the universe talk of miniscule strings of energy that vibrate in a fashion similar to that of musical instruments like the cello, violin or guitar. This groundbreaking theory has been named the String Theory and promises to be one of the best contenders of the Grand Unified Theory, a scientific accomplishment unparalleled by any other.
From the most complex mathematical equations to ancient religions and legends, music is an integral part of the human existence. Its power has always intrigued us and will continue to mesmerise us humans for as long as we can listen to its charm.