Music Notes: Why Does it Matter?

Posted on 04 December 2013 by admin

Humans are all engaged by a universal medium, which is music



Staff Writer

After writing a few of columns about music, a new crisis has formed. Columns have been written on music under the assumption that people care to read about it. It has become clear to me that the essential question has not really been addressed yet. The same question that many students murmur in their heads through the duration of an exhausting semester: Why does any of this matter? Now, if students cannot convey why music is important, not just from a personal perspective but from an objective standpoint, then how can they expect anyone to take interest? Music is fundamentally important, not to just an opinion writer, but to all of mankind.

In order to understand the importance of music, try to picture a world without music. A world without music would make more sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Many evolutionary scientists would agree with psychologist Steven Pinker when he referred to music as “auditory cheesecake,” in that the existence of understanding music did not do anything to act in the selection of fit species, but rather served as a side effect of more crucial components of human evolution like language. But others would disagree. Others would suggest that music provides a means of communication that is universal for all cultures to engage in.

This idea occurred to me while playing the Zelda games at the beginning of this semester. One of the most defining elements of the Zelda games is the music. It feels as though the game, with all its puzzles and dungeons, acts as more of a vehicle for the memorable themes. So it becomes fascinating why a game soundtrack that was written by a Japanese composer becomes so successful critically and commercially not just in Japan, but internationally as well. The reason for this overwhelming success seems to serve as evidence for how music, unlike any other form of art, is universal across all cultures. It serves as a common medium in which all humans can communicate though. It is through this deep, empathetic communication that has caused humans to evolve into the social creatures we are today.

So why should humans be interested in music? Humans, on a biological level, have an understanding of music. Humans are all related on a fundamental emotional level. Humans can all communicate our thoughts and feelings through a single language. Humans are all engaged by a universal medium, which is music.

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