Music Essay

1497 words - 6 pages

Does Music Divide People?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet and educator during the 1800’s once said “Music is the universal language of mankind” and I believe he was right, because no matter what languages are being spoken, music can create moods and emotions which can be shared with other people, due to music permeating language barriers.
Music has always had an important role in society. It has been used for enjoyment, but also to get feelings and emotions across. Some might say there is a song for everything, and it would be fairly difficult to disagree with this, as songwriters feel the same emotions as their listeners do, write songs about these emotions, produce them, and then let their listeners listen to the song and share the emotion expressed through the lyrics.

Music has a very strong effect on people and can form its own sub-cultures just through bringing together the people who like a certain type of music. However, these sub-cultures have the power to divide the listeners by separating them into the genres of music they like, and making them separate from those who have a different taste in music. An example of this would be in the late 1960’s, when there were many different types of music, and people could be classed into a certain political group with its own stereotypes very easily just by the type of music that they preferred to listen to. The main, and most severely contrasting groups were the ‘punks’ and the ‘hippies’. The punks listened to punk music (even the name of the group came from the music they listened to), with different genres within it, such as garage rock, which was the original punk rock, originating from the underground parts of London, to combat what was seen as superficial disco pop. Punks were usually seen as aggressive and loud, similar to their music, which often had significant political messages, messages which punk groups agreed with. Hippies were on the completely opposite end of the spectrum. They listened to soft folk music and the disco music that the punks were so against because they believed it held no real meaning and so therefore could not hold any real value. The hippies believed in peace and were anti-war, and this was shown through their music, which included a sound leaning towards the soft country genre, and lyrics containing peaceful messages of love. The punks were aware of this and generally hated the hippies for their laid back lifestyles, when they felt that instead something should be happening and that the best way to show that something needed to be changed was through violent, or at very least, loud acts. The opposing music genres basically began the social contrasts between the hippies and punks, which then spread to other genres, and began to separate music listeners into very specific categories. People were judged on a personal level by the type of music they listened to. It didn’t matter if you were the kindest person in the world, if people saw you with a...

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