Writing about World Music

Davidson College, Fall 2015

Author: shchaudhry

Music is for Everyone!

I found this amazingly interesting article about how music is for everyone, even the deaf! The Indie pop band Walk the Moon released a new music video designed so even those who can’t hear can enjoy music. They did this by using vibrations alongside a music video. This amazed me as coming to thing about music can easily be “heard” through the feeling of vibration yet I had never thought about his before. It really makes me believe even more that everyone should have access to music as for me it is so important.


Northern Indian Music

Music in Northern India and Pakistan is in my opinion starting to pick up ideas from western influences as well as other musics from around the world. I managed to see this in person when I visited one of Coke Studios in Pakistan. It was incredible to see how many of these classical sounds produced by native instruments has been replaced by more common western instruments. However, I believe even though one may think this is how culture is lost I see it as a transformation in the musical culture and history. Already many western pop songs are more frequently using non western instrumentation in new songs and this in my opinion is helping improve the music we listen to.

Here is a copy of the most popular traditional, Northern Indian/Pakistani song produced in these Coke Studios. Notice how the songs may differ to “traditional” music.


Concert Experience Zedd

I recently went to a house music concert at the Uptown Amphitheater in Charlotte. I had listened to many house music artists and songs in my life however I had never been to a concert in the United States of America.  The experience was very different to concerts I had been in the past. First of all there was accompanying acts on stage with the DJ. In previous concerts there were dancers and singers on stage while in this particular concert entertainment was based on a light shows and occasional uses of smoke and fire.

However I had a great time at the concert as did the majority of the crowd. Zedd used the visual effects in perfect harmony with the music to create some incredible effects. Even though unlike many other concerts where there is technically some sort of performance the Zedd concert was just the DJ simply playing music. Even though this was the case the crowd was very engaged and I would definitely recommend going to the Zedd concert or a similar concert in the near future.

The negative side of music

Most of us see music as a positive influence, for when we want to celebrate, go out with friends or simply relax at home. Music is a means of enjoyment, relaxation and a way to completely stop thinking about everything else around us. For this reason the music industry is so big and big name singers literally travel the globe to perform.

However music can also be used negatively. When one has no control over what is being played music can be used to harm us. Continuos music can disturb sleep patterns. Often on high security prisons music is used to disorientate the prisoners train of thought. Music can also cause loss of focus and reduce ones attention span. High volumes can pop eardrums and cause brain damage which along with other things can increase the chance of depression and anxiety.

Even though this may occur here in the link is an extreme example- http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2015/sep/30/bleak-history-music-as-torture-suzanne-cusick-morag-grant

Hearing Modernity

Charles Hirschkind dwells into the ideas of ethical listening and how this is effected by social and political modernization. The text looks into how important a sermon. The sermon is a key part in Islamic society and is designed to be a means of how the soul and mind can be cleaned. Even though these sermons didn’t use music as the main means of communication poetry was hugely prevalent in the region. These sermons read quranic texts in the poetic matter in which it was written. The use of this poetic tone of recitation was a key part in bringing the people into listening to these texts.

As we know music is very effective in getting  a persons attention and often it becomes stuck in ones head. The way in which these sermons recited the holy religious texts was in a manner which was very similar to that of music. The sermons were designed to be listened to in a manner which didn’t need to much attention detail much like music. This is very similar in prayers in Hinduism but very unlike those in Judaism and Christianity.  The way in which the people were meant to understand God’s divine text was through repetition of listening and togetherness rather then paying attention to what each specific sentence means.

I find it very interesting when in “Hearing Modernity” Egypt,Islam and the Pious Ear the writer looks deep into the transformations made in how ethical listening changes over time. It was very surprising to me how each time a new political revolution happened the way in which recitation happened changed hugely. Politics, religion and music were very closely related and each leader had a huge influence on how they wanted the sermon to deliver the speeches. The sermon is a key influence on any social propaganda or what the leaders want to portray.  Sermons are used by the leaders to portray morals, ideologies about other countries and how the society should behave as a whole.

This text was extremely interesting as it made me think about how music has a big influence on politics in many places. The way in which sermons were controlled and changed is very unique into how they may have a bigger influence on the people and society then actual politicians. I would like to look into a topic like this into more detail. Especially about how different cultures asses and analyze music as well how music is used.

Memories and music

For me Music often triggers many memories from my travels. Wherever I have traveled I have strived to see and associate myself with the local culture. Music was more times then not one of the big factors of the local culture. Even though sometimes I struggle to remember certain things about these travels, certain songs, sounds and musical notes often cause the memories to rush back.  I often wonder why these memories are so strongly associated with music.

In Australia I visited a care home for aboriginal orphans, the didgeridoo was an instrument that I had never heard before, however since that day any sounds similar to the didgeridoo take me back to some of the wonderful times and experiences in Australia. However a unique example was how Danish music reminds me of my time this summer in Moscow, and how the Beatles remind me of my stay in Turkey.

Music and Sports

As an athlete staying focused on the task in hand and having the right arousal level is key in optimum athletic performance. While some prefer silence before the match or game, I always listen to one of my two playlists, one which helps me calm my nerves while the other one pumps me up and increases my adrenaline levels. For me music is a key tool which I need before I compete.

I also watch two videos which inspire to train and compete at a higher level. While the content of these videos is extremely important, I also feel that the music heard alongside these images are as important. The music perfectly matches the videos in both of these short clips. I feel like it makes these particular videos better and thus they have a greater impacts.