6,500…. That’s how many spoken languages currently exist across this globe. That’s why it’s ambitious and exciting for me to say that “music is a universal language”. Throughout all human cultures; music has been pervasive in expressing the identity of ancient and modern civilisations alike. There is something about music that speaks to us all, that connects us all, that makes us understand and interpret unique meaning to who we are, it is common to the human experience that we call life.
One of my favourite quotes about music (I have on a bookmark) is by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato:
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but what a refreshing perspective. It’s like stepping outside and drawing in the ‘somewhat’ fresh air, like the first time you breach the clouds in an aeroplane, like the adrenaline of a roller-coaster ride…or maybe more than these things. As a band we love to create original music, there is nothing more life-giving than piecing the words of a message together with a melody and a beat which charges the song with energy, passion and power. Well, we hope our music has that impact on people…
As humans, we all carry something inside of us that we want to share with others, and music is that mechanism of community that allows us to share our stories, share our messages and enjoy the tunes that come from the music room of our brains. Scientific studies have suggested that listening to music and actively making music stimulates neurones in our brains that would normally be dormant, this means that our heads light up like Christmas trees when our body responds to the stimulus of music! That’s cool right?
In a TEDx talk at Salzburg in 2013, Bernhard Kerres conducted an experiment where he asked a room of 100-120 people to stand up, close their eyes, focus on themselves and concentrate on the flow of their breathing. Whilst still focusing on themselves, Bernhard asked them to quietly hum. Over thirty seconds he asked them to slowly hum louder in a well-controlled crescendo.
The consensus of this experiment identified that in corporate environments we would typically pick one note to hum. However, because Bernhard Kerres highlighted the importance of the individual, the room was charged with a euphonious harmony of differing but complimentary notes. It’s worth a watch if you’ve got some time, you’ll understand it more than I’ve tried to explain.
There’s this film called ‘The Giver’ (which Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed), it is set in a dystopian future where society has been split into factions. There is one person, called the Giver (Jeff Bridges) who holds all the memories of the past in order to give counsel to the present leaders, so the world does not end up the way it did previously (in the film). The Receiver (Brendon Thwaites), is the next person to hold all the memories from the Giver, when the Giver needs to retire. Throughout this film the picture is set in black and white, until the Receiver begins to learn the things of the past and he starts to partially see things in colour. In a one scene, the Giver is passing on the memory of music and he makes these great statements:
“Just like music, there’s something else you can’t see with your eyes, something that lies inside you”
“Feelings are just fleeting on the surface, but emotions are very deep, primal, they linger”
“Listen to what’s calling from inside”
All these statements express the expression of music through our ability to feel or perceive through emotion. Keith Richard from the Rolling Stones says that “music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions”. When we talk and communicate with each other, we need to understand the language that person is talking to make sense of the words they speak to us (sometimes not obvious when you have someone like Tom in the band who speaks his own language). But music transcends this phenomenon! We can feel a song and understand the vibe in the way it speaks to us. Music can trigger emotional memories which make us cry, some songs make us feel invincible and other songs make us feel happy. Across the array of emotional responses, music also inspires us to create ‘what’s calling from inside’ and we can translate this into sound.
As a band, there are many musicians that have inspired the songs you can hear on our debut album ‘Time & Tide’ and on our B-sides too. There is some great music out there, but music that inspires others has got to be the best music. It changes our understanding and shapes our futures.
The ability to communicate with music empowers us to change the world, to share our message and to reach the people who love to speak and hear the universal language of music.