MUSC 1001 – Music in Everyday Life
The role of music in society
Society and music have always been closely related. Technological developments have changed the way people access music. At the touch of a switch, most people across the world are able to access all kinds of music. Music is an influential medium through which meanings are shared. Music plays various roles in promoting stability in society. In this essay, the role of music in society will be discussed. The first role is the promotion of social stability. Others include fighting for freedom, motivating the youth, giving hope to the marginalised, and giving people a means to express their true passions. However, music can promote cultural imperialism. Music plays a significant role in creating a better place for the community.
Through good music, social stability is promoted giving a nation a good image. Musicians have a better opportunity in making a country a better place to live in. various songs thus focus on making nations better for the citizenry. A musician acts as watch-dog, a person who guards the society against undesirable practices. Through the medium, musicians are able to communicate all kinds of messages even if implicating provided the message aims at improving the lives of the oppressed in the society (Ibekwe, 2013). For instance, the song “It’s The Sound of Da Police, by Armada Bizerte talks about police brutality against the poor in the society.
The song accuses the police of killings, beatings, and arbitrary arrests for the poor. The musician uses both words and pictures in ensuring that the message gets to the right people. The video incorporates various protests against police brutality with the purpose of sensitizing people to fight for their rights. With the images and the cartoons, the musician makes the message clear enough. Through the song, the musician was able to raise various concerns including the brutality and inefficient education system (Kimball, 2013). Through the song, many people were inspired to protest in Tunisia calling for better services. Through such songs, musicians act as the defenders of the oppressed.
Even after gaining freedom, the society continues to suffer under the hands of leaders hoped to liberate them. Even after the successful revolution, people are still denied their rights and freedom (Kimball, 2013). People who successfully fight for freedom are again denied and arrested. Music however is used to sensitize people again about their rights and urge the government to promote the hard-earned peace. Various musicians use music to call for a just system. For instance, some musicians such as Weld El 15 have been arrested and rearrested for realising songs against attacks on freedom of expression (Kimball, 2013). The song “El Boulicia Kleb” talks about objection of freedom of expression among other issues such as corruption and arrests due to allegedly use of cannabis with a purpose of silencing rappers.
Weld El 15 after performing “El Boulicia Kleb”
Apart from talking to law enforcers, good music serves as motivation to the youths. The issue of unemployment has left the poor devastated and hopeless. However, music such as hip-hop focuses on giving such people hope by strengthening their skills (Ibekwe, 2013). Sometimes, artists focus on developing the youths through hip hop art. As Jabbari notes, helping the youths perfect the skills they possess is a good help. Through graffiti, acting, and rap empowers youths out of unemployment. Through workshops that are hip-hop oriented, youths are taught how to be creative essential for political, and economic empowerment (Kimball, 2013). In the picture below, youths are using hip hop dance style to express their frustrations making them more involved in politics.
Youths performing a hip-hop dance
Additionally, through graffiti, youths are able to express their frustrations essential finding peace (Kimball, 2013). According to Jabbari, such forms of hip-hop art helps in promoting social development.
Wyclef Jean with the ‘wake up song’ encourages people to make the world better by creating unity. He says’ “Do you believe that the children of the world deserve a good life?
Well if you do it’s time to wake up your mind
We can make it better and I know it could take some time
But we gotta start somewhere
How about from you and me
From us it goes to other then we can have our unity”
The songs show how music is used as a medium to motivate people especially the youths and the marginalised to go against the odds to make it in life. Through the music, artists use the freedom to speak by giving hope to the hopeless. Over years, youths have been the victims of political failure. Through the hip hop language, they are able to protest expressing their poor conditions that tend to get worse (Ibekwe, 2013).
Music is an innovative way of expressing true passions. People in society have different passions. Karim Jabbari for instance uses hip hop art to express his passions. Through his work, he shows the love for language ad art. The passion is extended to teaching the youth about the importance of hip hop art as a passion (Kimball, 2013). He encourages the youth into tapping to reading and panting for a source of empowerment and solace.
Karim Jabbari hip hop-oriented art
Even though music is associated with positive societal impact, sometimes it impacts the society negatively especially the developing world (Stokes, 2004). The issue of cultural imperialism is unavoidable. Rock and pop musicians from America and Europe are common in music stores across the world. Their music is more common in the third world. However, music from the third world is not prominent in Europe or American music stores. This shows how the globalization of music promotes hegemony of some races in the world. Through music, the majority are able to control other people (Stokes, 2004). Clearly music is used as a medium through which people from different cultures interact. However, music tends to promote westernization, where music is spread from to the developing nations. This has brought up the popular culture which seems to be embraced by every society across the world. Such an impact can either have a positive or negative impact of stability in society.
In conclusion, it is clear that music helps in creating a better place. Through music, artists are able to communicate message aimed at improving the lives of the oppressed in the society. Musicians use music as a source of motivation for the youth especially to the issues of unemployment frustrating the population. Music serves a source of hope to the poor. Again, music enables people to express their true passion. Therefore, music helps in making the society a better place to live in. however, music can sometimes be used to promote cultural imperialism. Dominant cultures can take advantage of thee communication medium to maintain control over the developing cultures.
Ibekwe, E. (2013). The Role of Music and Musicians in Promoting Social Stability in the Country. UJAH UNIZIK Journal of Arts and Humanities, p.159-174.
Kimball, S. (2013). Rapping the Arab Spring. World Policy Journal, pp.80-86.
Stokes, M. (2004). Music and the Global Order. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 33 (2004), pp. 47-72.