Music is something we all know, even if we don’t really know how to describe it. What is music? There are many definitions in this regard, but we could simply say that music is a set of sounds and silences that form a series of melodies.
This has been known for centuries and many scientists believe that music was an essential part of cavemen. In fact, many believe that music was an important part when they wanted to establish a social relationship, since it gave them a way to communicate.
Today, music has evolved in many ways. It has gone from classical instruments to computerized sounds. There is a great variety of genres and artists, who have undoubtedly benefited from the phenomenon of globalization.
However, although many things have been transformed, the usefulness of music has remained the same since its inception. Music is used to communicate and express yourself. It is a medium that helps us convey ideas and thoughts, feelings and emotions. But in addition, it also serves other purposes, such as relaxing, promoting creativity, learning, and even healing.
What are the benefits of music?
Music has multiple benefits, although it may not seem like it. From a sociological point of view, music is a very important communication mechanism for life. Furthermore, it is also a very powerful instrument capable of moving the masses.
Music can be used to transmit a message, and currently with the technology we have, it can be received by millions of people in a short time. Music can also be used in advertising, using marketing strategies and psychology to reach all people effectively and influence us.
However, music also has beneficial properties for us individually. Many scientists claim that music can make us enter a state of relaxation that we are not used to in our day-to-day lives, lowering the brain from beta waves to alpha waves. This can be used to relax and release stress, also to better capture certain types of information or to channel creativity.
What is music for in life?
Music has a wide range of uses in our life, as some of us have already mentioned. One of the most important is that it just makes us happy. Several studies have confirmed that when listening to music the brain acts in the same way as if it were reacting to drugs, food or sex. It releases dopamine, which makes us feel happier.
At the same time, this state of happiness favors creativity. Studies also claim that music helps the brain with abstract processing, which means you can be more creative and solve problems faster.
Similarly, it also helps improve cognitive and motor skills. You have surely heard that classical music, like Mozart, helps learning. Well, music, in itself, can improve children’s skills, especially if they are around 3 years old.
Children who play instruments learn language faster, read easily, acquire non-verbal reasoning skills, understand patterns, associations, and differences quickly. That is why many specialists recommend involving music in the lives of children.
Finally, music also has the ability to heal us. This property is very curious and many scientists are in charge of studying how it affects our body.
Research shows that music can make a big difference for patients with conditions such as Parkinson’s, stroke, or Alzheimer’s. Your symptoms greatly decrease and your attention improves. Some believe that it is because it relaxes the cerebral flow and its activity, allowing it to coordinate its activities in a better way.
What is music for in society?
Music has a fundamental role in our current society. Many specialists claim that it was the basis for the creation of the family and civilization. Anthropologists have found ancient instruments made of bone or other materials and it is believed that these could be as old as Homo Sapiens itself.
However, others claim that music could exist long before that. In fact, it is believed that it could be older than language, since something as simple as humming probably occurred long before the formulation of a word.
Music was also a way of communicating with each other and establishing bonds. For example, when doing rituals for the rain, religious rituals or for the preparation of the hunt. All these songs and dances were ways of expressing themselves, communicating and relating.
By sharing the same emotions and wills through music, the bonds between them were strengthened. In this way families, tribes, communities and eventually society were formed.
Today, music has the same mission, although it is not created. It continues to be a way of sharing emotions and messages that help us relate.
If we think about the religious music that is sung in a church, we will notice that the people present will feel closer as a community. The same will happen in a soccer game when the national anthem is heard. Music then becomes an essential element for social cohesion.
types of music
Currently many types of music are known and we could separate it by genre or function. As a genre we know the different styles that exist today, which are many. However, we can separate it into three large groups:
- Classical music: is that known as academic music. It refers to music that is based on the study of music theory, that comes from scores and that has a certain institutionality with it. Classical music seeks to study long years of composition and history, so the training of the musician takes many years of preparation.
- Popular music: between this and the previous one there is no very defined line that divides them. Unlike classical music, the musician does not need long training to achieve his goals. This is characterized by its simplicity, compared to the classic one, and is easily marketed through the mass media. In this group we find the genres known as pop, rock & roll, blues, jazz, Latin, tango, R&B, samba, country, among others.
- Folk music: this is traditional music, that which has been in a region for years and passes from person to person. It is rich in values and traditions of the culture, which makes it unique to the world. Here we could also include tango, samba or country, which originate from a specific region.
When we refer to separating the genres by their function, we are talking about grouping the different styles according to their usefulness. Currently we find various groups, but the most relevant are:
- Religious: this is the music that accompanies ceremonies or cults and are created in order to venerate a deity.
- Dance: is one that is created specifically for dance. It can cover different variants.
- Profane music: that which is created without religious purposes. A wide variety of genres can be included in this group.
- Dramatic music: that which is created specifically for theatrical performances. In this group we can include opera and all its variants, musicals, zarzuelas, oratorios, etc.
- Incidental: it is the background music. Those that do not have a musical purpose in itself but are used to accompany programs, video games, movies, and others.