Listening to Music Creatively

Listening to Music Creatively

Listening to Music Creatively

Listening to Music Creatively

Excerpt

Since music does not attempt to reproduce the exact shapes and images of the real world in the tangible way that literature and painting do, many persons have come to think of the art of sound as being remote and divorced from life. As a matter of fact, from its very beginnings in savage and primitive society, music has been an integral part of the daily life of the individual and the group. Whether to express triumph over the enemy or thanksgiving for the harvest, the praise of heroes or the pleasures of the hunt, religious feelings, incantation against evil spirits, tenderness for the beloved or lament for the dead, music is called upon to convey and at the same time to heighten the emotional side of man's experiences. Let us, by way of introduction, examine some of these uses of music, and by so doing perceive more clearly the relation of the art of music to our daily lives and its place in society as a whole.

In all times and places music has been a necessary part of the dance. On the one hand, it serves the immediate purpose of keeping the dancers in step. More important psychologically, it helps to create and sustain that mood of joy and physical well-being that finds its natural expression in rhythmic bodily movement. Wherever people come together for social purposes they require music to create the proper festive atmosphere. Naturally, the music differs with each country and century, reflecting the tastes and needs of the particular social environment. But the basic emotional responses are more or less the same everywhere.

We may begin our study and our first listening by playing a popular dance record , any one of the current hits. How eloquently the abrupt rhythms, the spicy harmonies and instrumental effects express the feverish tempo of modern life! This is the music of a sophisticated urban culture, breathing an air of restless gaiety and movement, awakening in the listener an almost irresistible physical response. One is immediately struck by the fact that in this modern . . .

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