Music has been around for many years and plays an important role in everyday life. It’s been used to allow a person to express their thoughts to an audience and allows them to express their creativity. Literature has also been around for many years. It’s been used to provide entertainment, enlightenment and instruction to an audience. Though music and literature are different types of art forms, both are used to communicate ideas and thoughts. Both have the ability to allow people to communicate emotionally.
Music is interconnected with literature due to being a creative influence, storytelling and a way to educate an audience.
Music and literature are both creative influences because it allows a person to express their emotions and ideas. Many artists and writers write songs and books because they want to inspire or entertain an audience. Majority of the time, books and songs are written because the artist/writer was going through a tough time. In other cases, the way they grew up was the reason why they began writing in the first place.
J.K. Rowling, author of the well known Harry Potter series, began writing when she was a child. “I lived for books · I was your basic common-or-garden bookworm, complete with freckles and National Health spectacles.” (Admin, 2011) Throughout her life, she had some rough situations. She had a failed marriage, she was a struggling single mother, and she suffered from severe depression. These were one of the reasons why she began to write- to cope and because she loved books.
In addition to music and literature being creative outlets, Whitney Houston, a singer and actress, is another example of creative influence. From the start of her early days, Houston was surrounded by music as her mother, Cissy Houston, was the choir minister at New Hope Baptist Church. Her inspiration to continue with singing, according to Houston, was the response the people of the church gave her. Whitney told Diane Sawyer, “I think I knew then that [my singing ability] was an infectious thing that God had given me.” Whitney Houston became a singer because she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
Both Houston and Rowling created pieces that would then change the way people lived their life. The way that these two women influenced a community was through something that they (the audience) can relate to. Whitney Houston wrote songs about heartbreak, songs about finding love and songs to be feel happy about. Rowling wrote a series that made the audience sympathize and feel as they can relate to the struggles to the characters in the books. In fact, Rowling wrote as a way to escape from reality. Therefore, the audience too escape from reality with both music and literature. Since both are an escape from reality, they also relieve stress. They give the audience an invitation to a world that’s stressed free due to how each piece is written.
Not only does music and literature influence creatively, they both tell stories in order to tell a message. Often times in literature, many stories and poems all have a central them. The same can be seen in music with the different genres being played or just the instruments. Ballet music, for example, allows to tell the story of the dance by using words and the instruments. Another way music tells a story is through musical theatre. Musicals, more importantly book musicals, uses singing, dancing, narrative and acting. The first ever book musical was Show Boat (1927), as it was derived from Edna Ferber’s novel. (Blood, “Musical Theatre”) Show Boat follows the stories/lives of the performers, stagehands and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom (a Mississippi steam boat). In the musical, the themes talked about includes racial prejudice and enduring love.
Another example of musical storytelling is West Side Story. West Side Story is based off of the tragedy by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. The plot is essentially the same, the main characters are star crossed lovers and both end up with a tragic ending. The exception between these two stories is that West Side Story portrays racial tensions with their two main characters, Maria and Tony, both coming from different cultures. The musical also demonstrated racial hatred and gang violence in the 1950’s.
In regards to storytelling, music in films helps set the emotion and setting of a character.
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