Nicole Nazarenus Rhodes JRLC 5080

International Functions of Music

The sounds of music have been progressive through the ages in every culture of our world. To each, it symbolizes something different. In all the ways we use music, it effects the way we communicate with our self, our peers, our community, and our global neighbors. This paper aims to analyze the function of music in different societies and countries, and how it plays a role in the spectrum of international communication. I have chosen and divided my research into five specific categories which serve as main functions for music around the world. Each category is supported with examples from different countries or cultures which demonstrate the importance of music in that function. The functioning roles of music included are entertainment, tradition and history, religion, political activism, and therapy. While these are not exclusive functions, they serve as the most common roles that music plays in the life of the global community. Living in a western society, it is obvious that entertainment is one of the many functions of music. This is how I view music and utilize it in my everyday life. The U.S. is not the only country to entertain through music though, the United Kingdom also uses this western view of music. Concerts and movies provide entertainment for huge crowds, as well as radio, television, and internet media that provide listeners with an array of different genres to satisfy everyone’s

listening needs. A newer form of entertainment regarding music is beginning to surface in the U.K., Vj-ing. Visual-jockeying instead of disk jockeying is growing among young people and becoming the next big thing for England’s culture of entertainment. Jurik explains it as, “a new form of art; it is story-telling that combines film-making, architecture, performance, and music.” (Jurik 15) There has been positive feedback from club-goers that having the visual feed synced with music “positively influences the overall experience from a live event.” (32) The entertainment function of music is continuing to grow and morph with other mediums. Music entertainment is considered an art form by many, but it is the money and capitalistic values behind record labels and investors that drives the business. The sinking value of recorded music is increasing the dependence that artists have on touring and live music endeavors. Even though the music business is seen in this way, it is the art of the songs that serves as a global communicator. Combining the medias to form new interpretations of the music allow audiences to better understand the message conveyed by the instrumentation and lyrics. Music entertainment is also spreading to more traditional societies whom are interested in western entertainment and lifestyle. “Media empires have transformed broadcasting in India,” Thussu states. As globalization causes India’s networking to expand, private television and radio seek to provide entertainment for segmented audiences. Zee TV is the example used in the case which has music countdowns based on MTV’s programming in the U.S. (Thussu 127). The success of this station and its continual growth shows evidence that entertainment is becoming more and more important to this traditional society. During the course, we have discussed the influence of major media conglomerates spreading to other countries. In this case it has

transformed the way India views TV and entertainment. I would imagine that older generations in India may disapprove of the growing addiction to music, television, and the internet, but I believe the younger generations acceptance of western media will allow better communication in the international realm. Especially as time goes on and the younger generations enter the international business market, they will be able to work well with other cultures and build relationships that extend across the borders of city and state. Music can also have a profound effect on other forms of media, like film. Without music, it maybe argued that many films are less significant or contain less emotion. Adding a score to film is a very thoughtful process for producers because it can transform motion picture into a story that the audience will emotionally connect to. The South African film, My Little Black Heart, “added music after the film was made giving the film an uplifting, sympathetic and even redemptive ending it would not otherwise have had” (Letcher 25). The film about middle-class, white, working teens was supposed to give realistic insight into a forgotten generation. As most teens experience the hardship of a first love, the music added what words and movement could not communicating the soul and emotion that the characters felt. Scores to movies receive awards in international film for the simple reason that if there were no music, the film would not communicate the message intended by the writers and producers. The same concept applies to advertisements. While not all ads incorporate music, it may be appropriate for international advertisers to consider music to better convey a specific message or make a product appeal to foreign audiences. The tone, pitch, and frequency of a song can be interpreted by a viewer without the issue of language barriers.

Historical and traditional forms of music are used in older cultures like the Yoruba Tribe of West Africa. Children in this society are never formally taught music in institutions, but their musical experience is based on “slow absorption” and “active participation” as they learn from everyday activities of their families. The music mimics the tribal speech patterns keeping “as close as possible to the speech tones” that already have “complex intonation” (Smith). Rhythm and dance which accompany the music are also taught in this way leading to a strong tradition in musical story telling through song and dance. The Yoruba tribe creates stories that can be expressed in this manner and bring villages together on the common basis of familiar stories. Communicating within the community through songs is such a fundamental part of their tradition and history. Without the oral traditions of their music, much of the their history would be lost since it is very rarely written down. Another culture which uses music as a part of its tradition is Mexico. The chicano folklore tradition of Mexico uses music and dance as a part of its historical legacy. The popular song, “La Bamba,” is one that derived from chicanos. The song “is considered to be a “son jaroche” which means country folks’ dancing music (Castro 18-19). It was made popular later with a Hollywood movie and is now commonly viewed as an entertainment song. There are many other Mexican folklore traditions including communal activities, specialty foods, and celebratory dances. Many chicano folklore songs tell stories and may be performed or played on specific holidays they celebrate within the community. Many may consider chicano music from Mexico to be a form of entertainment, but the significance of communicating through this music

is of great importance. Celebrating with music can help outsiders understand the emotions associated with different events, and creates traditions that are passed through the ages. Historical references to music are also closely related to the religion of various countries. The Chinese used hymns in their synagogues to worship Confucius. While the Emperor was paraded into the temple, music would play from the many traditional instruments two-by-two. He sat on his sedan chair which was carried by people through the gates of the temple and when he arrived they would stop all music. There were a few singers who would begin a new hymn, but no other instruments were played. The historical significance of the music they make is valued greatly as they continue to use the reeds and flutes invented by their forefathers (Marks). Without the intrigue to create worship music, the Chinese may have never sought out the materials to make music as they did. Many of the instruments they create have evolved throughout time as they spread to other cultures. Modern day band instruments are based on the simple models of Chinese reeds. This example of religious music has shaped a nation and pioneered the way the world plays music. Religion in the Middle East takes on a different angle. Anyone who has taken world history or religion may remember the distinct musicality that is so apparent in Islamic prayer. When I began researching the origins and uses of their melodies, I found something quite opposite to religious tradition. Muslims do not believe their prayers to be singing. There are, in fact, court cases prosecuting individuals for considering it music. In one case specifically, a man had put a poem from the Qur’an to instrumentation and was put on trial for disrespect to God (Bedford). It is interesting to see a religion which uses melody and rhythm for prayer taking

harsh actions against combining music and religion. Christianity and Judaism both involve hymns during worship some hymns which have even grown into popular music categories. Considering Islam stemmed from the same father of religions, Abraham, the strict rules against creating worship or prayer music is quite surprising. In many countries where there is a separation of church and state, citizens have resorted to music as a means of political activism to prevent violent protests and opposition. One example we saw in class was “The Singing Revolution.” I did some additional research on the history of Estonia and their inspiring story of pride when it came to standing up to the Soviets. During the Soviet occupation of Estonia, the people persisted in testing their limits of free speech by singing in protest of various government restrictions. They won their peaceful battle and regained control of their homeland which has now flourished into a valuable European country (The Singing Revolution, a documentary film). “For Plato, the social role of music was to organise and bring society together; a decisive factor in making society move as an entity, thereby providing people with the necessary discipline with which to face wars” (Martiniello and Lafleur, 1194). Watching just the trailer for The Singing Revolution gives me chills. The fact that a simple song can unify an entire nation and cause a violent dictator to surrender is incredibly powerful. The population of Estonia publicly expressing their feelings and opinions of national pride to defend their personal rights and homeland is a form of communication that goes beyond words. The action of singing was more peaceful and affective than any war or violent revolution they could have started. The courage of the Estonian population was then publicized to the world through the

documentary of their performance. Communicating their music to an international audience has given other people hope, especially for countries whom face the same fate. On the same continent, music has taken on activism for an unfavorable party, the NeoNazi rock movement. Since the end of Nazi Germany, underground Neo-Nazi groups have gathered and have more recently begun holding concerts in which rock bands supporting their ideals perform live music. Since they are supportive of specific Nazi values, they only sing in their native language. This sometimes misleads young people to believe that all German rock music is affiliated with Neo-Nazi groups regardless of lyrics (Martiniello and Lafleur). I chose this subject because it shows a downside to the power of music. When the message being presented becomes negative in context or discriminates and offends many people, we see how communication techniques of music are used for evil. As with any form of art, expression, and communication this causes a dilemma when trying to strongly support the effects it has on society. There is a negative or opposite to everything. Sometimes it is just a difference of opinion and sometimes that opinion can harm the masses. Evaluating the cause and effects of music communication could instigate an entirely separate argument and thesis, but it is an aspect to be considered when making observations and conclusions about the effect of music communication on international audiences. The last area I researched in the functions of world music is the use of music as therapy. Music as a healing power has been a subject for speculation throughout the ages which in the past was less of a science than it is today. Ancient societies believed the spiritual healing remedies of music could cure almost any disease. Medicine men and gods were worshipped with

song to fend off evil spirits and through the centuries, psychologists and sociologists have examined the subject more closely to find that music therapy is in fact beneficial to some patients. Turkish cultures value musical therapy as a “therapeutic tool for purification.” Different Islamic authorities confirm the treatment is good for different symptoms or illnesses. Turkey has begun an association to support the continuing research and education regarding music therapy. Worldwide, there are six institutions which train people to be Certified Music Therapists and many research teams are working across the globe to further education and experimentation regarding music as therapy (Tanrıöver). The efforts of scientists to prove the theories of ancient medicine men will give more accreditation to these practices. By increasing research and spreading the studies to other countries, this could have a profound effect on countries who do not have advanced medical practices like the United States. It is simple to create music with voices or with homemade instruments, and if it can help heal and rehabilitate the ill, the research could assist underprivileged countries in utilizing music therapy practices in medical clinics. The United States has participated in several research studies and experiments to test the validity of treating patients with music therapy. Doctors did a study which compared music therapy and physical therapy in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The conclusion states that there were better rehabilitation results when using music therapy. Researchers concluded, “along with the rhythmic aspect of music, another factor possibly involved in motor improvement is the affective arousal effect of music, which could influence both motivational and emotional processing” (Pacchitti). As the world continues to look for scientists for new cures and medicines, there is value in ancient practices. Taking the therapies and medicines used in the

old world could lead to new or more advanced versions of such practices. Music provides therapy to patients who may not respond to any other treatments or regimens. The unique experience provided by music may communicate to portions of the brain that can not be reached by any other stimulant. While these studies only touch the tip of the iceberg concerning this subject, my research and conclusions have allowed me to investigate specific niches in international communication while integrating my passion for music and travel. I plan to continue researching and studying international music in the future because there is so much information on the topic which interests me. To answer my thesis question, music’s role in the spectrum of international communication can be observed in many different ways. Western society is spreading the notion that the music industry is a form of entertainment, and the expression of art can be monetized and enjoyed by audiences of every nation. The history and significance of music as it relates to world cultures and communication are invaluable to society and will continue to shape the way we live and interact with one another for centuries to come.

Works Cited Bedford, Jan. "The Interdiction of Music in Islam." Australian Journal of Anthropology 12.1 (2001): n. pag. EBSCOhost. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. Castro, Rafaela. Chicano folklore: a guide to the folktales, traditions, rituals and religious practices of Mexican Americans. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print. Chasteen, John Charles. National rhythms, African roots. Dexter, Michigan: University of New Mexico Press, 2004. Print. Jurik, Roman. Going Audio-Visual: right step for live music entertainment?. London: Roman Jurik, 2004. Print. Letcher, Christopher. "Mbaqanga, Bollywood and Beethoven on the Beachfront: A Composer's Perspective on Representation and Identity in the Film My Black Little Heart." Ethnomusicology Forum 18.1 (2009): 21-36. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. Marks, Robert W.. "The Music and Musical Instruments of Ancient China." The Musical Quarterly 18.4 (1932): n. pag. JSTOR. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. Martiniello, Marco, and Jean-Michel Lafleur. "Ethnic Minorities' Cultural and Artistic Practices as Forms of Political Expression: A Review of the Literature and a Theoretical Discussion on Music." Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies 34.8 (2008): 1191-1215. Print. Pacchitti, Claudio, Francesca Mancini, Roberto Aglieri, Cira Findaro, Emilia Martignoni, and Guiseppe Nappi. "Active Music Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: An Integrative Method for Motor and Emotional Rehabilitation." Psychosomatic Medicine 62.1 (2000): 386 –393. Music Therapists. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.

Smith, Edna M.. "Musical Training in Tribal West Africa." African music 3.1 (1962): 6-10. JSTOR. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. Tanrıöver, Gülşah Başaran. "The Methods of Therapy with Music." e-Journal of New World Sciences Academy 5.3 (2010): 150-157. EBSCOhost. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. "The Singing Revolution, a documentary film." The Singing Revolution - A Documentary Film. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://www.singingrevolution.com/cgi-local/content.cgi? pg=3&p=19>. Thussu, Daya Kishan. " Privatizing the airwaves: the impact of globalization on broadcasting in India." Media Culture and Society 21.1 (1999): n. pag. RCIRIB. Web. 12 Apr. 2011.

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