Understanding the Relationship Between Music and Culture

One of ways in which we can understand any given culture is by studying its music. Such is the strength of the relationship between culture and music. That relationship – between music and culture – is what we will be setting out to analyze in today’s article.

Music is a chronicler of culture. This is an indisputable fact. At this point, it is important to define culture: where, at its simplest, culture is defined as ‘a people’s way of life’.  So one of the ways in which a people’s way of life is chronicled is through music. You realize that the people who compose music are influenced by the environment around them. They are influenced by both the major happenings, as well as the mundane stuff. A musically talented individual may, for instance, respond to the getmycreditcardoffer — and apply for one of the credit cards offered by Capital One. This would be after having received a capital one credit card offer in the mail. He may then experience difficulties in servicing the credit card debt – leading to a situation where he composes a song on the ‘brutality of capitalism’. Now another person, from another part of the world (or from another generation to come) would, upon hearing that song, get to understand the dynamics of the culture within which the composer operated. He would, in other words, get to understand the composer’s culture.

The people who compose music tend to sing about their deepest concerns. And while music lyrics are usually simple, they touch on very serious themes (which becomes clear if one listens to music with a discerning ear).

Music has potential to change a culture. Music has potential to change the way people act. And if it does that on a large enough scale (that is, if it gets a huge enough number of people to change how they act), it ends up altering the entire culture. Worth mentioning is the fact that music can change culture both in positive and in negative ways. Much depends on the character of the people who compose the lyrics, and influences they operate under, and the objectives they aim to achieve.

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