June 21, celebrated as Fete de la Musique or World Music Day marks the beginning of summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year.
Music, like other fine arts, is what feeds the soul and touches the body. Listening to music has always proved to be a therapy for our souls.
Can you imagine the world without music? No concerts to attend, no singing, whistling, and no tapes. Even the thought is terrifying! Music is something that completes our incomplete life and makes us feel alive. Music connects hearts, fuels the mind and thus it fuels our creativity.
“Even a wordless melody soothes the soul and can make us feel happy or sad”.
It is that impactful and powerful. Life is empty without melody and harmony. Music is an important part of our life; the best source of entertainment and one of the biggest forms of communication. It makes us creative, expresses an emotion that is hard to verbalize. “It is the voice of the soul”.
According to the research, it has been discovered that music improves brain power and memory functions. Students who are exposed to music while growing up excel better in academics. It makes the brain work harder, relieves stress, increases creativity. Music is a universal language that everyone understands.
We live in a world where children are under constant pressure to achieve academic excellence. They are bombarded with stresses and strains that impact their body image and self-esteem.
Increasing pressure on young people and schools to achieve outstanding exam results is undoubtedly on the rise. There is a way out! Exercise your brain by listening to music. It provides a total brain workout.
Music makes one a better learner. The skills associated with learning an instrument, the discipline of practicing, can be transferrable to any other subject. Music is structural, mathematical and architectural and is based on the relationship between one note to the other. You may not be aware of it, but our brain does a lot of computing to make sense of it.
Learn how our brains can hear and play music. A music system puts out vibrations that travel through the air and somehow get inside the ear canal. These vibrations tickle the eardrum and are transmitted into an electrical signal that travels through the auditory nerve to the brain stem, where it is reassembled into something we perceive as music.
World Music Day has its origins in France but has now been adopted by over 120 nations across the world, including India.
With its global connection, music is found to exist in every known culture, past, and present, varying widely between times and places. Music is likely to have been present in the ancestral population prior to the dispersal of humans around the world, since all people around the world, even the most isolated tribal groups, have a form of music. The music that we enjoy today evolved over several centuries.
Origin and History of Music
There have been numerous theories regarding the origin of music. Though, many historians also think that animals took part in music and it existed before man existed. Even so, historiographers point out six periods of music and state that each period has significantly contributed to what music is today with its unique style.
Medieval music consists of songs, instrumental pieces, liturgical music and vocal music such as Gregorian chant and choral music. The era begins with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century. Medieval music had two general types of music styles; the monophonic and polyphonic which were both sacred and secular.
The most common form of music included Gregorian chanting and plainchant. Plainchant is a form of church music that involves chanting or singing and has no instrumental accompaniment. It was the only type of music allowed in Christian churches during the period. Secular music became increasingly prominent around the 14th-century, giving rise to the music period known as the Renaissance.
Renaissance means “rebirth.” Renaissance marked as an era of discovery, innovation, and exploration. By the end of the sixteenth century, the Church’s hold of the arts weakened which led to many changes in the way music was created and perceived. Musicians started using instrumentals more and created more elaborate music forms that included up to 6 voice parts.
The word “baroque” is an Italian word meaning bizarre. During this period, composers experimented with form, musical contrasts, styles and instruments. The Baroque period developed brand-new styles of music, different singing styles for opera, instrumental music as well as other Baroque music forms and styles. Music emerged as homophonic, using a clear melody line over a subordinate. Musical instruments prominently used in Baroque period compositions included the violin, viola, double bass, harp, and oboe.
In the history of music, the Baroque period refers to the styles of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Italian opera became more dramatic and expansive in the high Baroque period that lasted from 1700 to 1750.
The Classical Period, spanning from 1750 to 1820, is characterized by simpler melodies and forms such as the sonatas. Classical music is less complex and has a lighter, clearer texture than Baroque music. It is mainly homophonic.
During this time, more than highly educated aristocrats, the middle class had more access to music. The primary instrument used by composers during the Classical period was piano. Most notably, Mozart wrote his first symphony and Beethoven was born during this period, a crucial figure in the transition between the classical and romantic ages of Western music.
According to Historiographers, the Romantic Music period lies between 1800 to 1900. The Romantic period is described as a cultural movement where music was used to tell a story or express an idea. There seemed to be an expansion in the use of various instruments such as flute, saxophone, wind instruments.
Romantics believed in allowing their imagination and intense emotions to soar through their works that made melodies fuller and more dramatic. Folk music became popular among the Romantics by the mid-19th-century. Strong interest in folk music elevated, emphasizing more on nationalist themes.
With advanced technology, 20th-century brought about many innovations with highly diverse kinds of music. Artists experimented with new music forms that challenged the previously accepted rules of music. Earlier, electronic instruments included the Dynamophone, Theremin, and Ondes-Martenot.
A revolution occurred in 20th-century music, new electronic instruments and styles were incorporated that included impressionistic, 12-tone system, neoclassical, jazz, concert music, serialism, chance music, electronic music, new Romanticism, and minimalism.