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What is music? If one were to think of a definition off the top of their head, perhaps they would say it consists of a combination of sounds and silences that seek to deliver a certain message to an audience.
But when thinking further into what it truly is, the majority are likely to be stumped, since music as a concept is difficult to describe. It is not necessarily something that can be held within the hands, unless technically speaking one is referring to the papers containing the composition.
It can be overwhelming at times, possibly even bring about feelings from within that one may have never thought they had. Music refers to the shadows that follow people around, the soundtrack that plays in their heads on their ways to school and back. It’s something that’s always present, but physically absent. It is a universal language that speaks to both the mind and the soul.
Danish author Hans Christian Andersen once said that “where words fail, music speaks,” a statement that greatly illustrates an aspect of portrayal that this art form, unlike others, can offer to an audience. It is not only a creative outlet from which people can share their ideas, but a form of expression. Hence, music is the form of expression that best portrays experience because not only does it have the ability to speak to all people, regardless of cultural boundaries, but it has the potential to tell a story without a need for words.
In short, music is able to relay experience in an unrestrictive way.
To begin with, music is the form of expression that can best portray experience because it can speak to everyone. It serves as an essential in the lives of many because it not only allows people to feel the different emotions that the artist sought to get across, but many times, melodies can carry a message that proves to be relevant to one’s everyday life. Often times, these ideas can be conveyed regardless of cultural boundaries. While some may think that it may be troublesome to attempt to understand the message of a foreign piece of music, many more would agree that it is not more or less difficult and on the contrary, it depicts an overall connection between different platforms of this art type. Certain genres of music, whether they be portrayed by one culture or another, have common defining traits within them that can deliver a similar message or theme, despite originating from completely different places. A lullaby, for instance, may be different from culture to culture but likely have similar characteristics, such as slow tempo, or relaxing rhythm meant to calm the listener.
Furthermore, music is the best form of expression in terms of portraying experience because it can tell a story without a need for words. When thinking of different types of it, the first genre that may come to mind is pop, but there are plenty of other types of music that can depict the same story that popular songs can without a need for lyrics. One example of this would be a song known as the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Tchaikovsky, because it is able to tell illustrate exactly what its title refers to. It is graceful, as if to mimic the staccato tapping of the sugar plum fairy’s feet in this magical classical piece. Not only does it work well in terms of conveying a whimsical dream taking place right before Christmas, but it also goes along well with the dance it is paired with in the Nutcracker ballet. This further proves the point that music, though it is not a physical form, can inspire people to imagine and interpret for themselves the tale a musical composition seeks to tell, creating visuals in the mind in a way other forms of expression cannot.
Music is a creative escape that many look to when they feel restrained by the many emotions weighing them down. Experiences of any kind can be portrayed through the use of it, whether or not lyrics are used, because a composition can be understood by anyone and convey numerous ideas at once. A world that lacks music is a world that lacks color, deficient in its ability to appeal to the senses and tell stories. Music is not just a series of beats and notes written on a piece of paper, because it is able to provide an experience that other art forms cannot.
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