Alexander Parrish

The Emotional Connotations and Influences of Music on Humans

Every human has a pulsating beat built into their bodies that requires no power of mind to control: the heart. From the pulsing of a heart, a beat can be created that doesn’t require any external power to be kept the same. And from this beat, music can be created. For this reason, music has always been present in the world, even since the very first humans. Music is absolutely unique in every aspect, from its emotional connotations to the specifications of its creation. Nothing can parallel the way music can alter emotions and change people after hearing only mere notes of a song. Even throughout nature, there is music, whether it be intended or not. The wind blowing across a field of grass, the pounding of lava spurts from a volcano, and the crashing of waves against a beach are all examples of uncontrolled elements of nature creating music. But among humans, music has been existent longer, in more places, and among more people than any other aspect of culture. Because people need not be talented, privileged, or successful to create music, it will continue to be a source of inspiration for the people of the world.

The ability to create music comes naturally to humans and, much of the time, unconsciously. If one is trying to recreate a specific type or piece of music, then the recreation might require some attention and preparation. But otherwise, little care is placed on how music is created or how seemingly ‘correct’ it is. Therefore music will not disappear with time or be forgotten as a result of the changes the world has yet to undergo in years to come. Languages can be lost, governments discarded, social patterns altered or abandoned, and writings destroyed. But music can not be discarded, lost, or destroyed. The ability to remember music and the feelings evoked by it resides in all of us and will remain so until we die. The use of this capability has become universal and creates opportunities for people to ‘escape’ from their lives for a few moments. And, when the occasion arises, can make people take on certain emotions and allow the music to influence their lives.

When we listen to music, even if we don’t quite love the music we’re listening to, it fills our bodies and encircles us. The music enters the body through the ears and flows throughout the whole body and fills in all the empty spaces. Just like taking a shower on a freezing cold morning; frigid, you step into the shower, and as the water slowly slides over your body, a shiver runs down your spine and you feel a sense of momentary fulfillment and warmth. But the emotions that we feel when we listen to music are not always the same, depending on the person and situation. Much of this personalization of the feelings the artist intended to evoke is especially present in the young people of the world today. Some people can feel great happiness after listening to a song, yet, at the same time, a realization of the emptiness that resides without music can fill some with sadness and bitterness. When in a depressed state, music with a sense of movement and optimism can lift our spirits and give us a sense of hope, but also allows us to feel hatred if we believe we can’t posses the same feelings of hopefulness. The slow movement of a song sometimes soothes our emotions and offers us a chance to feel at peace with the world, but then again it might give us the opportunity to connect with a sense of loss and dishearten us. The presence of stress and anxiety can allow us to associate ourselves with loud or harsh music, and act on our heightened emotions, while the suddenness can break our mental “strongholds” and shatter our good feelings.

Music can bring forth personal responses from us that may never become present as a result of any other influential experiences in our lives. Individual experiences generate our personal reactions to music because we begin to recognize certain emotions similar to those felt in the past. The ability to be universal in intention, yet absolutely personal to each listener, is the factor that makes music totally unique. Only music digs to the core of human emotions and creates totally different emotional responses depending on the person. It is an incredible phenomenon that any thoughtful and simple collection of sounds, rhythms, notes, and instruments could survive throughout centuries, just because it made a small impact on a single person’s life which drove them to remember it. As long we continue to allow music to generate personal reactions from us, the power of music will never become a degraded aspect of life, nor will it ever lose its importance in every human’s life.





[TABLE OF CONTENTS, LHS CLASS OF 2009 EDITION]


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