Why music is so important | Pakistan Today

Why music is so important

  • A power so strong that led Orpheus to prefer a harp instead of a logical speech when he appeared before god of death

In our culture, people tend to look down upon those who indulge themselves in performing arts, whether it is theatre, music or dancing. For this matter, learning music in even today’s world is considered somewhat undesirable by the majority of people within our cultural boundaries. On the other hand, they don’t realise that there is quite a lot that they might be missing on.

Music has been a soul mover since the beginning of human civilisation. The importance of music in the ancient societies can be measured by the myths that were produced by them. In the Hindustani tradition, we observe that Avatars such as Krishna were associated with flute and Mahadev Shiva was the creator of many ragas, such as bhairov. In the west, the Greeks also had immense importance associated with music. It was considered so sacred and powerful that not only it was associated with gods such as Hermes and Apollo, but it also melted the heart of Hades (the god of death).

In the proceeding cultures, music held its place in the forms of hymn, folklore, etc, that shaped their societies. Then, why is it looked down upon now?

One also needs to ask the question that why is even music relevant in the society in the first place? May be because music is a language, just like any other, and that too a very powerful one.

Whenever we think of rhetoric, we only think of speeches made by the orators and we fail to recognise the position that music holds in this vast subject (that changed our history time to time and made what we are today). From the political to the religious, music had played its part, may they be David’s Psalms or propaganda songs. Why so? Because the impact on the heart is immense. Most psychologists believe that when it comes to convincing masses, logic’s efficiency would be much less than emotional dialogues. Now, what is so important that makes music such an important part of rhetoric? Its influences our emotions. It makes us feel good, sad, pumped, aggressive, depressive, etc, a power so strong that led Orpheus to prefer a harp instead of a logical speech when he appeared in front of Hades.

But that is not the only side of music. It also has a logical angle to it. A side that deals with patterns and equations.  If one was to ask the question that what makes an inquiry effective? The answer would most probably be a good observation. Logic deals with one thing and one thing only, how to enable us to make an elaborate observation. An elaborate observation does not only entail a successful inference, but also to build a connection with another happening event. Only then one can work with the principle of causality and for that matter with the meaning of a particular event. Learning music, on the other hand, should and would only increase your capabilities of making an observation. A trained musician only means a trained professional who gives heed to all the minor details. These minor details are not something that we can see or touch, but something we can only hear. With this the musician cannot only place a particular sound in a group of harmonies but can also imagine where and when it can be placed in order to make something sound beautiful. Someone once said, if this world were to be a pond, and we all lived in it, the one who spots the water is the one that is ought to be called a philosopher. We all are surrounded by different sounds and the one who have the knowledge of identifying them and using them would only be better aware of their surroundings. This only means that being a musician not only help us produce brilliant sounding pieces but it also enables us to contemplate patterns, associate different events and manipulate these events better.

We all should realise that our position in the contemporary world is only made possible by imagination. Most of the people I came across believe that sciences are subjects that are both dry and factual. But if I ask you that can one know these facts without imagination? If you say yes, then I believe that you are doing it all wrong. Science is surely based on maths, and math’s foundation on geometry and arithmetic. What are these two subjects based on? Numbers and shapes. So, let me ask you again, if the falling apple story is true, do you really believe that Newton would have reached to his conclusion of F=ma without a little help from imagination? If you think math needs practice, then would you really believe that imagination lacks any such honour? Music, on the other hand, provides us with a continuous exercise of brain when it comes to imagination. Not only this, but since the structure of music is so logical, with timing, sets of notes, and symmetry, that it provides us with the perfect blend that enhances our critical thinking capacity. What good is a logical mind without a little imagination?

So, if people believe that music is a skill that is only related to a particular function then I believe that it is time to rethink on any such notions. Music is no less important than the critical thinking classes being offered in the schools. In fact, if you see it from my perspective, music itself, like other arts, is a curriculum of critical thinking within itself!