Music Is The Universal Language Of Mankind Essay

  • Music is Universal

    Music is incredible in its ability to be able to have so many sounds, emotions, instruments, beats, genres, and people who listen to the millions of different types every day. Music is global for a reason. It reaches every part of us, because music is a form of expression. Music is one of the many things that makes us human. It's true that you cannot have a conversation using music, music is not technically not an actual language, but you connect with people on such a high level that sometimes words cannot even take you to that place of connection.

  • Music heals consciousness and consciousness IS universal, indeed.

    Music is not just a language, it heals the Atma, our soul essence. After reincarnations, the body can be too different compared to other lives. Music changes your soul form and balances your consciousness.

    I'm waiting for the day that science will explain all the mysteries and the human nation will become intergalactic and heal people instantly.

    Then we will see our true nature.

  • Music is the Universal Language

    You can't travel around the world and be able to communicate with everyone through your native language. Sometimes even gestures can't get the point across, but in means of communication, what does EVERY culture have in common? Music! It is the one thing that isn't solely reliant upon a thesis, but emotion and how we were born to think. Ever heard a song in a different language? Gangham Style? Time to Say Goodbye? Did you honestly have no idea what the theme was? Of course not! Music can move a person to laugh, to cry, to get up and dance. This is why music IS the universal language.

  • Singing Before Counting

    If we think about music as Charles Ives, then anyone has the capacity to create music. Before we learn to count, we can sing a melody as child. Music comes more naturally to people than counting. Although it's often argued that math is a the true universal language, I don't think this is the case. Before we could count, humans were signing, dancing or doing something musical to honor the gods.

  • Brain, heart, soul

    Music touches all the places that were named above simultaneously. And I along with many others believe that at the end of the day we are all very much similar when it comes to the human heart, mind, body and soul. You can go to another country, not understand a word of their language, but let the music from that county start to ring out, and instantaneously your mind picks up the beat, you feel it inside of you, and before you know it your swaying tapping your feet or something.

  • Music is my life

    If I play the guitar, I feel good. It helps me in all of life. And I'm grateful that I can play music. I feel lonely because I get angry with someone and I don't know what shall I do, the only thing I can do is play a guitar.

  • music is a universal language

    It is a universal language because it inspires common human feelings and bridges gaps between cultures that spoken languages cannot. It brings together and creates universal community. Its a universal language that transcends boundaries and bond people even thousands of miles apart together. Music is a universal language because there are certain types of music that speak to certain people.

  • Yes, music is a universal language.

    While music may not technically be "a language," it is universal. It can express and communicate emotions (as shown in scientific studies) across many different cultures. The crucial aim of a language is to communicate, but I don't believe the point of this debate is about the semantics. It is said that music predates humans, and that animals use music as a form of communication too--whales for instance. There is something universal about music; I think we just don't fully understand it yet.

  • Yes, it could be considered a universal "language" as a means of expression, but not in the same way as a spoken language.

    Music is universal because it can be understood and interpreted by individuals. Although music cannot always be evaluated through a specific framework or set of objective criteria, such as Western music theory conventions, people across many different cultures can identify and react to similar patterns and expressions in music.

    Like agriculture, music and other fine arts developed in multiple locations throughout the world as a result of independent invention. Although we may not use the technically correct words to describe music in the eyes of academia, most humans can understand the concepts of pitch, timbre, tone, beat, tempo, rhythm, style, and other common elements to music. Music can be considered a universal language simply because we feel the urge to bob our heads, head bang, dance, or move to the beat of the music. We can identify a specific instrument or timbre, repeat back melodies to each other (although possibly out of tune), or even identify melodies and/or harmonies that "sound good together". This is because, believe it or not, we all develop these skills over the courses of our lives whether we intend to or not simply through listening and imitation. Those of us who are "musicians" only intend to develop these types of skills better than other people through more intense study and practice.

    Some parts of music are so universal that they developed in different parts of the world independent of each other. A prime example of this is the pentatonic scale. Consisting of five notes rather than the seven note patterns of the diatonic scales (major, minor, etc.), these scales have reciprocated in music throughout history. We know them mostly from popular music because the melodies derived from them tend to be catch and fit many harmonies quite well. They are so common in popular music that we already know what they are; we just can't exactly define them. I have personally heard them in African tribal music, Native American tribal music, popular music (duh), Blues, Jazz, older Chinese music, and in countless other settings. The fact that these scales could become used so much in many places suggests that there is continuity between the devices used to express music.

    Part of this can be explained by the overtone series. Sound waves are regular and repeated, but they do not only produce one specific frequency. Instead, they exhibit a certain "fundamental" frequency (the lowest, strongest one) and a series of "partials" or "overtones". In a brief explanation, when someone plays two notes together, they sound more consonant, or pleasing, when they correspond to some of the lower parts of the overtone series. This is not a rule for specific types of music, but more of a concept modeled and quantified by science that may be applied to many styles of music.

    This is only a sample of the many arguments one could make suggesting that music acts similar to a universal language. Unfortunately, I ran out of space to tell the rest of the story.

  • Music IS a universal language.

    Music just brings everyone together, no matter what race, culture, religion etc. There are no barriers because the music does the talking for us. Its something that everyone can relate to-in regards to the different genres of music. Music can bring about peace, create friendships and do wonderful things for people. Therefore music is a universal language.

  • When teaching about other cultures—especially in foreign language classes—music is often a key part of the curriculum. Jennifer Patterson, Founder and President of California Music Studios shares the reason why music is a critical component of understanding other people. 

    Connect with Jennifer and other educators on Twitter during #GlobalEdChat this Thursday, January 14 at 8pmET/5pmPT. We will be discussing how music can add a global dimension to classrooms.

    By guest blogger Jennifer Paterson

    Did you know there are approximately 7,000 spoken languages in the world today? Although only 10 percent of those are spoken by more than 100,000 people, there's clearly a communication gap between cultures throughout the world.

    But there's one language that everybody understands no matter what tongue they speak: music. While we may not understand the lyrics of foreign songs, we all share the same emotions when we hear similar chords and melodies. Continue reading to learn more about the universal language of music.

    Facial Expressions Are Universal
    Before we can understand music as a language, we must understand emotion. Numerous studies have shown that there are six emotions everyone can identify by facial expression no matter what culture they come from—even if they've had little contact with the rest of the world. This suggests that these emotions are rooted in evolutionary aspects of the human body. These six emotions include: happiness, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise.

    This is evidenced in a study by Paul Ekman as reported by Psychology Today. In his study, Ekman showed photographs to individuals from 20 western cultures and 11 isolated groups in Africa. The study showed that 92 percent of African respondents and 96 percent of western culture respondents could identify happy faces.

    Ekman's research goes on to support that these six emotions are universal. Ekman also looked at how blind children react to certain situations compared to sighted children. What he found was that even though the blind children had not observed other facial expressions, they still showed the same expressions to the same emotions as sighted children did.

    Certain Sounds Are Also Consistent Across Cultures
    So we know that basic emotions are consistent across the world. But the cross-cultural similarities don't end there. Other studies show that sounds like crying and laughter are also consistent between cultures, even those that live in remote settlements with little interaction with the outside world.

    Dr. Disa Sauter studied over 20,000 individuals living on opposite ends of the world—Britain and Himba (northern Namibia)—and found that not only are facial expressions of these six basic emotions recognizable, but the vocalizations associated with them are as well.

    Given that certain emotions and sounds are universal, wouldn't it make sense that music could be a universal language as well?

    Music as a Universal Language
    Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, "Music is the universal language of all mankind." Turns out he may have been on to something.

    Pitch, Rhythm, and Tempo Are a Part of Language
    David Ludden, Ph. D., points out in Psychology Today that one reason music may be a universal language is that the same components that make up music—pitch, rhythm, and tempo—are also present in everyday speech no matter what language you're speaking.

    For example, you can watch a foreign movie or witness an exchange in a foreign country, and although you may not understand exactly what the situation is about, you can typically tell how the people are feeling. At the very least, you can understand whether the situation is a happy or sad one.

    Ludden suggests that this is because we understand the pitch, rhythm, and tempo of speech because the same patterns are present in our own language and across all spoken languages. With these patterns present in spoken language, we can interpret emotions from music using the same cues.

    Musical Emotion Is Rooted in Chords
    Think about it. When you hear a major chord, you interpret the music as positive whereas if you hear a minor chord, the music feels negative. Tempo also impacts how you feel. A slow song in a minor key, for instance, makes you feel sad. A faster song in a minor key may make you feel scared or angry. When played in a major chord with higher pitches, more fluctuations in rhythm, and a faster tempo, listeners typically interpret the music as happy.

    This concept is supported by a 2015 study that showed that musical chords are the smallest building blocks of music that elicit emotion. According to researchers, "The early stages of processing that are involved suggest that major and minor chords have deeply connected emotional meanings, rather than superficially attributed ones, indicating that minor triads possess negative emotional connotations and major triads possess positive emotional connotations."

    Music Elicits the Same Physiological Response Across Cultures
    A recent study from McGill University further illustrates this concept. Researchers gathered 40 Pygmy and 40 Canadian participants to listen to 19 short musical extracts—11 of which were Western and 8 were Pygmy. Each piece was between 30 and 90 seconds long. The Canadian participants were all amateur or professional musicians while the Pygmies were all familiar with music because they sing regularly. After hearing the music, the researchers measured heart rate, respiration, and other physiological factors. What the researchers found was that the psychological responses from each group appeared the same, such as whether the music calmed or excited them.

    While we may not be able to understand exactly what people are saying across different languages, humans have evolved to share and express the same basic emotions in similar ways. This allows us to understand each other's facial expressions even if we don't share the same spoken language. When speech is incorporated into the situation, we can still interpret emotions based on pitch, rhythm, and tempo. Because of these shared attributes across all cultures, music is one thing we can all agree upon and understand, making it the universal language of mankind. Try this out in your classroom by playing songs in other languages and prompt your students to tell you what emotion they feel when hearing those tunes. Do they agree music is a universal language?

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    Photo credits: StockSnap.io

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