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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Get Educated: or are you even listening?

Monday, January 28, 2008  
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By Jed Lovejoy

There are people who have told me that they don’t like music (hard to imagine huh?) and aren’t affected by music of any kind. However, I don’t believe them and feel they are fooling themselves.

Music is constantly all around us and has a deep impact on various aspects of our life. Plato and Aristotle wrote many statements about how music impacted the moods of the people who heard it. This is called the “ethos of music.”

For many years rulers, churches, and wealthy individuals would ban music that was too depressing because of the effect it had on its listeners. Even today, if you listen to music commissioned for various events, the music will be composed in a manner that produces the desired emotional reaction of the intended audience.

Think about the intention of a national anthem. Anytime I hear the “Star Spangled Banner,” I picture my cousin serving in Iraq or any other famous photo of American accomplishment and feel the surge of patriotism that crescendos with the rise in the music.

People have sued artists like Marilyn Manson and Eminem for the affect their music had on them or a family member. I’m not saying that I agree with these people who are trying to lay the blame for their actions at someone else’s feet, but I do agree that music can affect or enhance any mood you are in.

Many people make playlists of music that they feel will specifically help them during various points in their day. I have a playlist for the specific purpose of calming me down when I am stressed or upset and my roommate has a playlist he calls his “change the world” list for the times that he is trying to focus on world issues.

Don’t think this emotional pull goes unnoticed by advertising companies. Even the most disturbing medication side effects can sound pleasant when accompanied by upbeat music.

If nothing else, think of a movie that you have recently seen and enjoyed. Go back and watch it again listening to the soundtrack. Specifically watch the climax of the movie and listen to what is going on in the background. It doesn’t have to be a fully orchestrated score to get the point across, but I promise that behind the majority of movies that come across awkward or disinteresting there will be a poorly constructed soundtrack.

So don’t tell me that you don’t like listening to music or that it doesn’t matter what you are listening to. Music is all around us and constantly influencing many aspects of our lives.

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