Music is powerful. It has the ability to set the tone for any moment, and can change the mood of any individual. Throughout the centuries music has changed both in style and in performance. New ideas were brought to the table, and resulted in a desire to revolutionize the musical style. Every artist strives to make these advances in music, stretching the boundaries of what is considered appropriate. Elvis is one of the most celebrated cultural icons, famously recognized for his revolutionary musical flair. Known for his “inappropriate” dance moves, Elvis pushed the envelope when it came to stylizing his music. Although Elvis is common example of musical transition, his success was partially based on luck. More often than not, the first few attempts to make a new style of music results in disaster for the artist, but every so often, a new and thrilling improvement in music is made, leaving the rest of us wanting more. Stylistic music did not become popular on its own though, there was a time that playing uncommon or new music was an outrage. New ideas were criticized, even punished, if they did not meet the expectations of those who paid for the music to be completed. Many individuals would like to accredit this advancement in music to famous bands from the early 1900’s. Unfortunately for them, music transformations stem from way before the Beach Boys time, all the way back to the early Baroque era.
The baroque period was nothing too grand or flashy, and is actually known for its simplicity and archaic musical style. Surprisingly enough, the baroque period began the transition into more modernized music, which started from the most basic advancements in instruments. The harpsichord, know modernized into organs or pianos, was the paramount musical instrument they had for that time, which produced very antiquated and eerie sounds. Percussion, woodwind, and brass instruments were not even a thought yet, leaving only the most basic of musical style to be produced. Nowadays people have very little appreciation for classical music of any kind, a fact that baffles me considering the amount of music that directly stems from this period’s stylistic improvements. Before taking Music Appreciation, I would have believed the same thing, but now realizing how incredibly difficult it was to produce music back then, I have a whole new realization for it. Classical music is the ancestor to all other forms of music, and is advanced in nature. Writing down all the music, as well as having to produce it on your own with no way of recording any progress is an incredible feat, one that is often overlooked. In the periods that followed, ballet and musical theater pieces became more desirable, some of the first being The Nutcracker and The Beauty and the Beast, which was a musical long before it was a Disney classic. These transitions led to blues, soul, and eventually pop and rap. All of these simple transitions have changed the course of music, and provided us with the musical style we have today.
Modernized music has a wide variety of styles, from rock and roll to country and everything in between. Listening to music has been a part of celebrations and ceremonies since the beginning of time, and is now taking on a more significant role. Music is played in every store, elevators, cars, there are even showerheads that play music now, and all of this is for a reason. Connections and emotions are the root of music, and being able to relate to one another through written verses is half the appeal. Music gives us the ability to connect with one another without having to say a word. Melodies and notes are constructed and specifically designed to make our minds, and even our bodies react in a certain way. Getting shivers during a song is not just a coincidence, our bodies can actually respond directly to the music. Relating not only to the lyrics, but also the emotion behind the performance allows us to connect to artists around the world. Feeling that form of connection can remind us that we are not alone and that other people have felt the same way.
Music represents more than just a generation of styles and ideas, it represents who they were, and what was happening at the time. Songs made specifically for romance, nationalism, or even just venting of emotions give so much insight into the generation that we left behind, and the consistency that remains throughout all generations. Classical music is still listened to today, though its importance is rapidly dwindling due to the misconceptions it carries. Listening to compositions by Bach or Mozart is powerful, and more important than that, the music is applicable. Music made hundreds of years ago is still relatable today because emotions are still emotions, no matter what time period you are in. Understanding musical history is just as important as creating new music today, which is one of the many reasons that musical culture is not implicit. Throughout the centuries music has remained an important aspect of every culture, and will remain so as long as we can acknowledge and recognize the history and where it will take us in the future.