• Andersonn Prestes

Writing & Music

I am taking a writing class from the language department. I was thinking about my essays and decided to post some of them here. My grammar is improving and I feel that I can share them with you. The two texts that I will put here are a bit long and, as usually, very personal. The first one is about one of my passions: music. I tried to be objective and was strikingly dramatic. You will see the emphasis in my conclusion. Well, I hope you enjoy. Eu estou fazendo uma disciplina de Inglês escrito pelo departamento de línguas. Estive pensando sobre meus textos e decidi que poderia postar alguns. Finalmente minha gramática esta melhorando e eu vejo que poderia dividir com vocês. Os dois textos que vou colocar aqui são um pouco longos e, como sempre, bastante pessoais. O primeiro é sobre uma de minhas paixões: música. Eu tentei ser objetivo e fui um tanto dramático. Vocês vão ver em minha enfática conclusão. Bom, espero que quem ler, goste.

Music: can I (you) do without it?

Take your headphones, adjust the volume, press play… start to fly. Music plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of our lives, whether to promote social interaction or introspective moments. Some people disagree: they simply are not interested. Life would be full of occupations and there would be no time for music. Perhaps, if there is no distraction, it only could be heard in an elevator or in a waiting room. Nevertheless, I strongly defend that music is crucial to improve the life-quality of everyone, everywhere.

As a cultural expression, human populations have been producing music since their beginning. Anthropologists argue that there is evidence from ancient archeology sites of what would be the first instruments made by humans. Flutes and chords instruments are frequently found in these excavations. The song was there, even though it is hard to answer exactly what kind of music was played.

Besides playing music, to sing is a likely activity that preceded the language itself in the evolution of our species. Gestures and melodies vocalizations probably were striking mechanisms of communication in these prehistoric humans. The eminent naturalist Mr. Charles Darwin, in his book “The descent of man and selection in relation to sex”, suggested that music might be related to sexual selection. In other words, mate choices might be associated with music expression to some degree. Therefore, it would have preceded language as a mechanism of courtship.

Also, it is interesting that sophisticated music appeared independently in many places on earth. Different groups of people developed different forms of how to play and to appreciate music: India, China, Mesopotamia, Greece - all of them with their own history and way to deal with this art. It seems that human beings need to express their creativity and emotions. A necessity to create something through feelings. Music appears to be an invention that fits such requirements. Some cultures develop happy melodies to devote to some gods, and others to deep arrangements to accompany a special date. Music for birth, music for death, for leaving, for arriving. In some instances, minor chords to exposed sad and reflexive feelings, major chords to celebrate life. Although there are many particularities on each culture, yet there are patterns.

Music as being universal and, at the same time, one of the most personal forms of expression.

The benefits of music are not restricted to the one who is playing it. There is a reciprocal communication between the musician and the listener, many times a sincere and beautiful communication. Somehow music has power. It can be relaxing or give energy, bring angry or peaceful, compassion or hate. Strangely, a song is able to console a person better than any friend; it might be the best shoulder to determined situations. The lyrics sounds as an advice, and the harmony comforts - it simply makes feel better. Poets and philosophers say that music can heal people. It is an aliment for soul. Plato once wrote: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”. Whatever soul could mean in objective terms, it is true that music can deeply move us around sensations and emotions. Body and mind may react as response to an intense musical performance. Tears or chills, remote remembrances or merely enjoyment are some of the well known examples.

Moreover, music is an outstanding tool of self-knowledge. Together with meditation, to hear a song in a reflexive way can make people reevaluate their lives. Good music, solitude and beautiful landscapes are high indicated to wake deepest thoughts about any major concerns in life.

In addition to the personal experience, music can proportionate a strong collective experience. Parties, meetings, celebrations. Listen to a song collectively approximate people. They can share affinities and ideas. A song may not have a home, a political position or a sexual option. Hence, music arises as one of the most democratic things in our complex world. Jews or Palestinians, children or elderly people, in Singapore or Malvinas islands, can appreciate The Beatles band.

Furthermore, scientific community has been opening its doors to study of music. The research on this topic has increased exponentially recent years. More than two thousand articles related to music were published in the last decade according to PubMed database. Researchers have focused on different approaches, varying from neurosciences and the specific action of music in the brain, to broader topics as cognition and music theory. The support for the benefits of music is large, and, at a great point, unanimous. The psychologist Dr. Daniel J. Levitin states that music engagement might promote creative, flexible thinking and hone prediction skills. He continues saying: “Listening to music exercises our neural circuits by simultaneously rewarding them for correct predictions and challenging them to learn new principles for organizing the world”.

Finally, I think music should not be a mere coadjutant in people lives. Its benefits are as explicit as fundamental. Asking someone if he likes music should be the same as asking if he likes food.

It is inherent, and necessary.


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