Around the World: Understanding Foreign Culture Through Music.
Musical behaviours are ubiquitous across human populations, they are universal, transmitted through generations, and often played in the presence of others. Everyone to a certain extent engages in music, whether it be simply listening, or as an artist, it is widely acknowledged that music is something that is pretty much exclusive to the human race and is a part of every culture in the world. It doesn’t matter where you look. From big cities to remote villages, music has always been a crucial part of daily life for people all over the world. Throughout history, each respective community has created music and used it to define themselves, and so it then becomes inseparable for both individuals and communities.
There is something about music that brings people closer together and helps us all pull together as a community, with humans being hardwired for listening and creating music. Researchers recently discovered that part of our brain is dedicated to processing music, which ultimately supports the theory that music serves as an essential function in our everyday lives. It has been shown in many studies that listening to music has a direct impact on the neurochemicals in our brain, with many of these chemicals playing a role in the emotion of feeling close and connected to others.
So how do we use music to gain an insight into foreign culture? Well, at its most basic nature, music is a communication tool. It is a way to share information, ideas, and feelings. Music provides a way of conversing with others who may be barred by language barriers. It acts as an expressive voice of culture, and a universal form of communication that has the capacity to overcome linguistic, physical, mental, and cognitive barriers to an understanding with others.
Music is an essential element of culture. Sharing music from one culture to another gives people an insight into another way of life, which becomes even more crucial during times of conflict when other methods of interaction can be rendered impractical. The legendary Hollywood composer, Hans Zimmer, was once asked: “What is music to you?”, to which he responded: “I…