“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” – Jimmy Hendrix
Now, I’m not sure how much BrainyQuote is to be believed when it comes to the validity of these quotes being said by the supposed author, but I do believe it beautifully illustrates what I’m trying to get at in this post about music’s role in shaping tradition, and therefore, broader culture.
I’m sad that I wasn’t able to see Mick Moloney and Jimmy Keane’s performance last Thursday. I am happy to report that I didn’t blow off the questions their show being put into the seminar raises, however. What is the role of music in history? Why is it important to examine?
At its heart, music is storytelling at it’s finest. One doesn’t need to know the ins-n-outs of chord progression to know if something moves them in a certain way. Music plays a significant role in shaping a nations when it comes to national songs and celebrations of wars, it leaves a lasting memory of the past, and can reflect the concerns of an age, the zeitgeist to use unnecessary German terms.
Cultural scripts are the ways in which a society or and a local community decides what they will project onto the world, and how they will make those in their community follow suit. Music, why it is produced, by who, and for what purpose is one of the most wide-spread cultural scripts out there. Much like the saying “you are what you eat”, what you listen to informs the ideas you shape from a very young age.
While the source and context impacts how one understands a song in question (if it’s lyrics versus an audio version, how the musician performs it, if it was written during or for a certain period in history, and so on), music offers a fairly reliable example of a larger historical moment.
Continue reading “The Ramonat Seminar #5: Music, Tradition, and Culture”