Music is a reflection on the essence of life, and when carrying the universal values of the universe and of nature, music can become the best treatment for societies “mental diseases.”
Scientific research asserts the effect of music on the human soul
More than 20 years ago, Dr. Masaru Emoto began to conduct research on the effect sound has on water. After having exposed the water to all kinds of music, he brought the molecules of the water to freeze into crystals. When observing them under a microscope, to his surprise, the shape of the water crystals subjected to the classical music of Bach and Mozart were totally different from those exposed to other contemporary genres such as Hard Rock and Metal.
When ‘listening’ to the music of Bach and Mozart, the crystals formed into arguably beautiful and geometric shapes.
As for the crystals formed whilst songs of the other two genres of Hard Rock and Metal were played, the crystals were generated to form chaotic and disorderly shapes.
Water is present in most living organisms, accounting for up to 60% of the human body. Therefore, it stands to reason that this process outlined in Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research, of the effect that sound has on water, has profound significance in the way we see music’s physical effect on the human body. This is part of why we are heavily influenced by what we hear, see and interact with every day.
The ancient approach to music
Thousands of years ago, philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates understood the immense power of music on people.
Plato – the ancient Greek philosopher, once told Galucon, his fellow philosopher: “Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul; on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful.” (‘Republic’ written by Plato)
For Plato, musical education was also the refinement of the human inner mind. Therefore, those who “have received this education of the inner being will most shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good”.
He also commented on the effects music has on society and people of his day, “Any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole state, and ought to be prohibited. When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them.”
Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, believed that music is a means of communicating emotion, so immoral music has the power to shape our social character detrimentally.
“Music directly imitates the passions or states of the soul…when one listens to music that imitates a certain passion, he becomes imbued with the same passion; and if over a long time he habitually listens to music that rouses ignoble passions, his whole character will be shaped to an ignoble form.”
What are the youth listening to today?
According to researchers at the University of Missouri, musical genres that are widely common among the youth, such as hip-hop, pop, or rap, prompt many of today’s social issues. They analyzed the lyrics of more than 400 hits on Billboard from 2006 to 2016 and found that they, for the most part, featured themes of violence, fighting, and sex.
Much of what we hear in modern song lyrics are messages of violence or sex, and those that don’t often reinforce strong messages of emotional control over others. Commonly used phrases such as ‘I’m yours’, ‘You are mine’ or emotional threatening like ‘I can’t live without you’, appear frequently in contemporary lyrics.
It is sadly true that most people today are still not fully aware that this mentality being subtly pushed upon them is likely to lead to violence, abuse, depression, and immoral behaviors.
Minimizing the negative effects
It is time for us to wake up to the influences that are driving our society for the worse, and take control of our own personal choices.
As suggested by professor Cynthia Frisby, parents should regularly spend time talking with their children, especially when they are at an early age, about the type of music they are listening to and make them know the effect of music and media on psychophysiological development.
Our society will never improve if we do not try to become aware of the negative influences surrounding us and the normalization of these potentially harmful messages. Through awareness, we can limit the influence of the entertainment industry on our outlook. Otherwise, intractable social problems such as aggression, depression, suicide, and addiction will continue to overtake our world.
On the other hand, genres of music that cherish the beauty and positivity in the world could nourish our souls and prompt the healthy development of society. The power of music is evident, how we choose to engage with it is up to us.
(The cover photo from Pixaby)