What Is Music?

Many people ask the question, “What is music?”  The correct answer, however, is a multitude of concepts and thoughts put together.  I first learned what music was after a long pursuit for the answer.  After listening to Jimi Hendrix’s cover of “The Star Spangled Banner,” I learned that music is more than just a literal composition;  It’s a feeling that you get when you listen, play, or even read the music, paired with the piece itself.  It’s that feeling that makes you want to go out and spread the word about what you’re listening to.  Think about it like this: without emotions or feelings, there would more than likely be no music. Everyone’s mood would be one, constant drone of indifference in emotion.

Jimi Hendrix, the influence of millions and pioneer of his personalized bluesy playing style, once said, “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.”  He’s completely right in the sense of music influencing the minds of millions, especially during his own era (1960s).  Try to remember the Vietnam War era, and also all of the anti-war songs that paired along with it.  Artists like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and so many more influenced an entire culture of people to take a stand against the Vietnam War.  This was referred to as the counter-culture, or more familiarly, “hippies.”  Now, you’re probably asking, where’s my point?  Why did I bring this up?  Because this era’s music was in complete control of a generation, making people take stands for what they believe in, enforcing their purpose.  This, was true music.

Now the only thing getting in the way of this generation taking a stand against everything less than ideal that’s going on right now, is the lack of that feeling and meaning that makes up the second half of music.  When you take a look at artists like Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, or Iggy Azalea, what is the feeling or meaning behind their songs?  There’s not really anything digestible that will give people that “feeling” that I keep mentioning.  R&B artist Prince says, “what’s missing from pop music is danger.” What I think this means is that pop artists aren’t taking the initiative or risk to get into the listener’s mind, and make them take stands like they once did during the times of the 1960s.

In conclusion,  music is not just something you hear, it’s something you feel in your bones, your mind, and even your imagination.  It’s that extra push that causes people to make a difference in the world.  Folk-Rock singer/songwriter Paul Simon once said, “Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.”  This is very true today, but I’m a firm believer in the fact that music just hasn’t grown or matured quite yet in this day and age, which is why it lacks meaning.  The residual message in music has changed from, “make a stand,” to, “buy my album.”



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