How People Analyze The Music Cultural Studies Essay

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Everyone has their own analysis on music; however, it begins within the laws of acoustics. The frequency, amplitude, duration and timbre of the sound waves all stimulate our eardrums and this is what gives us what we call "music".

The first parameter is the frequency or rate of vibration in synch with the sine wave. The second parameter of waveform is its height and depth, which measures the strength and vibration which indicates the amplitude. The third parameter refers to the duration of the sound, and the fourth parameter refers to the shape of the sound waves themselves, in what we call the timbre. All of these elements together produce the music that we hear every day.

There are many genres and types of music produced by many different cultural influences around the world. For instance, the Tuvians in Siberia; they link music to the natural and spiritual world and give detailed descriptions of the environment in their songs. It is believed that the Tuvians produced their "throat singing" as a result of trying to imitate the sounds of nature around them. Also, there are other genres which consist of country, rap, salsa, Ganga and classical just to name a few.

Many cultures use the art of music to relay messages and feelings towards their everyday life. Music is a form of expression that can tell a story in a way that can be remembered and passed down to generations for years to come.

Chapter 2

The power of music lies in its connections to the other aspects of culture. It is said to be a "universal language" shared between other cultural existence. Music is a very important way of expressing emotions, memories, ideas and pleasure. It is very powerful and it can move people physically and spiritually. It can stir emotions and make someone remember a loved one and cry, or to celebrate an event and have fun and laugh. The entity of music has many forms of power. For instance; a ritual, which is a functional activity that focus minds and energies are reinforces feelings and actions which are valued by the individual and the community. We all have daily rituals and many of them involve music. Like driving to work, school or even while watching a movie. We listen to music every day.

The power of music in worship is that of a powerful one. Religions give people answers to the questions they seek about the divine and their relationships with their "gods". Music is an important piece is the puzzle of a religious ritual. Examples would include weddings, graduations, a church service and even a funeral. Some view music as just a form of musical expression, and then there are some who believe music has healing powers. For instance, the Navajos believe that music and dancing restore balance and health to individuals and whole communities.

Music has also had a powerful connection to the presentations of political messages. Political songs send out a message that is easy to understand, remember and relate too than just to read words on paper. It touches the emotions of those who are listening and it builds a strong connection between the individual and society.

Chapter 3

Music and memory have always been linked together. Memories remind us of the past and present and music is one of the most powerful tools in invoking these memories from our minds. Music serves as a powerful tool in holding all memories and many cultures use music as a tool to stir up emotions and aiding in memory in rituals.

Irish music composition is said to be "traditional". Traditional music provides a nation with a sense of cultural grounding and the independence of a community. Music in Ireland has not changed much since its debut and it also provides a strong connection to the Irish culture. Irish traditional music includes many kinds of songs, including drinking songs and ballads, all sung alone or performed with a variety of instruments.

Musicians sometimes attempt to duplicate the early styles and performances in musical times in the ways that music was instructed in the past and this involved a lot of work on the musicians' part. Some compositions have to be translated to another language than the one it was written and older instruments need to be obtained. The reconstructions of broken traditions are exciting to musicians and are also challenging. A music revival can change a person's listening habits and what they are use too. For instance, listening to music that was performed back when my mother was a little girl in the 1950's changed the way that I look at music. Most of today's music is full of bass lines and electric guitar. Back in the 50's, the country music scene was full of acoustic guitars and sappy ballads. This broadened my horizons and opened my eyes to the different genres of music. Reconstructing "broken" musical traditions can be challenging, but those challenges do not outweigh the benefits of re-introducing a classical piece of music to a new generation.

Chapter 4

All of the ways that music is passed onto one person to the next is known as musical transmission. In this process, music is passed on from generation to generation or from one culture to another. Another process of learning one's own music culture, whether it be formal or informal is known as musical enculturation. This can be done informally by listening or singing with relatives and friends or formally by using the master-apprentice method through teaching.

In many different cultures, informal learning plays a different part. For instance in learning Irish Traditional Music, many musicians talk about the importance of family, friends and neighbors and use them as a primary source for their styles and techniques of music. And also in Rock and Roll; which comes from the African-American genre rhythm and blues. Over many decades, musicians have improvised and form their own forms of musical compositions of the earlier rock and roll sounds.

Another form of the learning of music is the tradition of apprenticeship. This allows professional musicians to become the student or apprentice of a master-teacher. This allows the "student" to learn the techniques, secrets and ways of the professional. Ones who become disciples of such a great master may even move into their home to take advantage of the constant immersion into the professionals' life.

Musical learning has exploded internationally by the birth of electronic media. This allows musicians to study the performances of others from every genre and from all over the globe. This phenomenon has greatly increased the speed of acculturation, which is the learning process across cultures.

Chapter 5

Rhythm involves a consistent grouping of steady beats or pulses. In other words, rhythm is simply the timing of the musical sounds and silences. While rhythm most commonly applies to sound, such as music and spoken language, it may also refer to visual presentation, as "timed movement through space". It can be free, allowing the performer to play or sing it without a fixed beat.

When thinking of metered pulse, it may result in picturing the music of a marching band. These normally consist of two pulses, on of which is stressed and the other is not. This form of pulse results in a rhythmic feel which closely resembles to that of taking steps or walking. Not all music has regular recurring patterns of strong and weak beats. It may have a non-metric beat that is unorganized into other recurring measures of pulses.

Syncopation is a general term for a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm; a placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally occur. Syncopation has been an important element of musical composition since at least the Middle Ages. It is used in many styles of music such as jazz, break beat and rap to name a few.

The classical music which derives from Northern India is known as Hindustani. The most important rhythmic principle in Indian classical music is Tala. The classical compositions are set to repeating rhythmic cycles called talas. The opening portion of a performance such as this is known as the alap, which is done in free rhythm. It is divided into 3 parts, 1) the alap, which means graceful and slow, 2) jor, which is a medium tempo, and 3) jhala, which is much faster and upbeat.

The cultures of Africa are great areas to study the polyrhythm. For instance in Mississippi, the black fife and drum bands were in existence before the Revolutionary Way and had a part in the Civil War. Their repertory included music that appealed to the white audiences. Many of these performances were done by slaves.

Chapter 6

Melody is traditionally considered, along with rhythm and harmony, as one of the three fundamental elements in music. Melody is the linear aspect of music, in contrast to harmony, the chord aspect, which results from the simultaneous sounding of tones. Melody must be considered with rhythm; they are the two necessary elements to music.

Melody in Western Classical Music is based on the mode system, which involved scales that from the Western diatonic scale with changing pitches.

Melody in Arabic Music uses the maqam system and it is influenced by Arabic cultures reaching from Spain to Indonesia. The note of the Arabic Music has a seven note natural scale like Western musicians, but unlike the Westerners, they subdivide the octave, into twenty four "quarter tones" and not just twelve half steps.

The most important aspect of Irish music is the melody. Irish traditional music can be divided into four categories that are all based on single sung or played melodic lines: dance music, instrumental slow, songs in the English language and sean-nos singing, which songs are sung in the Irish language.

A raga is one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music. Raga is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made, it represents a series of notes, presented in ascending and descending forms.

Chapter 7

The most important aspect of music is its timbre or "tone color". Every sound is set aside from the others because of its distinctive timbre because of a series of overtones. The pitches of these overtones can be divided into three parts: a beginning, middle and an end. Depending on the instruments used will result in a delay of each of the parts and they are controlled by the performer. Timbre is said to be the most personal element in music due to the uniqueness and individuality of its performers.

As learned before, in order to make a sound one needs three elements. First, you need a physical object which is vibrating, then a medium to transport those sound waves and last an ear to hear the sound being produced. In knowing that, a vibrating sound is what makes sound production possible. Sound production has four categories: string, wind, percussion and electronic. And centuries ago, these categories were used to classify musical instruments. The Sachs-Hornbostel system is the most widely used classification system today.

Timbre is used in many different cultures as its primary means of musical expression. In Indian classical music, they respect melodic instruments because they believe that they imitate the human voice. In Japanese traditional music, the performance is centered on a solo instrument or small ensemble. These performances call for more clarity of tonal color.

In Arabic classical music, it is also performed by a soloist or small ensemble and like the Indian classical music; the instruments imitate the human voice.

The human exploration of sound is an ever growing and changing process. In all aspects and in every culture, all music and sound has timbre.

Chapter 8

Musical texture relates to how music is organized into one of more consolidating sounding parts and the ways in which these parts relate to each other. Musical texture can be separated into two broad areas: 1) the organization of music in one or more parts playing together and 2) the ways in which these different parts relate to each other. This is also connected to timbre and the melody.

Scholars have classified musical texture by separation of the number of parts and the way these parts relate to each other. The four main categories are: monophony, heterophony, polyphony and homophony. Monophony is music with one part, a single unaccompanied line. Heterophony is when two or more musicians play or sing together the same melody in different ways. Polyphony is when two or more lines of music are played or sung at the same time. And homophony is a piece of music with multiple parts in which one voice retains the main part and the remaining voices accompany it.

Texture can be found in all types and forms of music; For instance; in Latin America's Salsa. This texture would be referred too as being homophonic, although it does involve polyrhythmic as well. Texture in the Central Javanese Gamelan can be described as polyphonic, even while there are so many other words to describe it. It is said to be many layers of all the categories and they may alter dramatically throughout a performance.

Composers use different textures as a way to add depth, tension, perception and variety to their music. Not every piece of music is the same, it is carefully crafted.

Chapter 9

In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles their connections. It can refer to the combinations of tones produced by polyphony or a homophony texture.

Early Western religious music often features parallel perfect intervals. It is based on major and minor triads. Most of the world's harmonic systems are born from fundamental notes from a series of overtones. In the West, these harmonic practices were developed from medieval organum through triadic harmonies of the Renaissance to the tonal system of the Baroque Era. It remains the most commonly used harmonic system and it is being used around the globe.

Other forms of Western Harmony are used in early folk music. It demonstrates a diversion of improvised vocal sounds and the use of triads.

There are also practices that are not inspired by the Western system, including traditions from Bosnia and Zimbabwe. For instance, in Zimbabwe, the music involves repeating polyrhythmic cycles which musicians use to form their performances and some performers use improvisations to complete a piece of music.

Harmony is based on consonance, a concept whose definition has changed various times though out history. In my opinion, without harmony, you don't have a musical piece. It can be traced back in time to its roots back in western civilization and has been spread all over the globe over centuries. It will continue to be reproduced in every song, concert and musical piece.