The thought of a world without music is a very bleak one, in my opinion anyway. It’s an interesting thought given the number of articles out there with questions aimed at the “purpose” of music: “what does music do for you?” or “how do people relate to music in different ways?”. In some ways, a more comprehensive view point to find out these answers is to ask the question of what life would be like without music.
Friedrich Nietzsche was famously quoted in saying “Without music, life would be a mistake” and I am in complete agreement with this statement. One way in analyzing this thought for me was to see where music is relevant in every day life and look at the consequences. Besides the obvious removal of music making as a profession, on a more emotional level, people would be void of identity and in many cases a form of memorable nostalgia.
As a keen music listener, I find my personal tastes in music give me not only a musical identity, but these personal preferences also form part of my personal being and can reflect back to have an influence on how I view the world. For example, the way I enjoy slower, acoustic music, makes me feel as though I have a more authentic appreciation for other art forms such as dance. I hold a close personal relationship with regards to the nostalgic value of music, just because I feel like many of my long terms memories are accessed through old music I experienced growing up. Old radio songs from my mum’s 90’s radio station, for example, are stuck in my memories of driving to soccer practice. The two memories are completely fused together and either one reminds me of the other, which holds a nice nostalgic quality and feeling every time I experience the memory.
In this way, life without music allows us to see that what music serves, in its current role, is a way to reveal and enhance your own personality as well as having a nostalgic function that inactively maintains many of our personal associations.