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"Real Music" vs Real Music

Updated on December 19, 2015

I spend a lot of my time with people of varying age groups, but ironically, never my own. As I see my 9 year old and 6 year old cousins on Saturdays followed by my Nana on Sundays, I realize more and more how time changes everyone and everything. Time transforms our interests, our personalities, our friend groups, our maturity level, pretty much every aspect of our lives is changed in one way or another by time. Time also changes society and the preconceived ideas as to what is and isn’t socially acceptable in addition to our perspective on historical events, what we find to be inspirational, etc. But the most intriguing thing I found out tonight from my cousins was the truth pertaining to the evolution of music.

There have been many studies done about music and how it has evolved over time and people usually come across these interesting facts and statistics through a music theory class, researching it themselves, scrolling through social media or even through a conversation. There are all different genres of music and all different kinds of singers and songwriters and bands that create such unique sounds as they all express themselves through what they produce. It’s amazing to me as to how the messages that artists convey have evolved over time. Some are motivational and encouraging, others are centered around love, some sing of heartache and things that are broken, the list is endless as to what people sing about.

Music has such varying purposes as to why it exists, why it’s important and why it was made in such a way to make people think, feel and continue to listen to the sounds and words that each song entails. I find it very interesting as to how different the sounds are in the world that still classify as music. As I hope many of you agree, the basic piano, guitar and drum certainly do not limit the sounds that can pass as music. The guys you see banging on items that may appear to be trash to some are actually instruments to them. The babies you hear of clanging pots and pans together are more clever than we give them credit for, as they are putting noises together that sound good to them. In my opinion, that’s one of the basics to music; producing noises that sound good, regardless as to how or what is used in the process, and sharing the sounds that are created.

The sounds of music and how they have evolved relates closely as to what I learned from my cousins. I showed them a few videos that my friends made of themselves singing, one with a piano background and the other with an acoustic guitar. These friends that sang fearlessly in the videos continually blow my mind with their beautiful voices that only got better through their years in show choir. And their instrumentals went right along with the songs they were singing, creating a beautiful four minute video for the world to see.

That fact in and of itself amazes me. I would encounter endless anxiety by putting a video on social media of myself singing and playing (or in my case attempting to play) an instrument. So to all the people that do post their music for everyone to see, I have an abundance of respect for each of you and I thank you all for gracing other people’s lives with the songs you sing and the sounds you create.

As I showed my cousins these videos, they realized that they were covers of songs that are popular and well known. They had puzzled looks on their faces as they commented with critical words, but the one phrase that stuck out to me was “It doesn’t even sound good, it’s not like the real song.” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether they are 6 or 9 or 18 or 72. However their opinions fascinated me as I thought to myself, they have only heard the original song performed by the original singer. They might have never heard a personal rendition of a song sung by someone that you don’t see on the top charts and billboards and hear on the radio. They are used to hearing edited voices accompanied by edited sounds that have been edited together to produce a song that you then hear on the radio.

The key word in all of that being “edited”, their comments led me to believe that they haven’t heard songs being sung on their first try without technology backing up and correcting the flaws, no matter how big or small they may have been. My goal here is not to discredit the hard work it takes to produce songs that end up being big hits, but rather to give equal credit to the singers and musicians that put their music out there without the autotune and covering up of the sounds that are truly being created.

Music in general is more edited now than it was before. For example, the composers and musicians of the Nutcracker didn’t have a studio to perform their pieces in, therefore they did not get the opportunities that musicians have today of being able to try again and iron out all of the parts that don’t sound right to them. More often than not, these musicians from earlier times had one shot at making their songs sound “just right” for others to hear and didn’t have the option to go back and redo it. Both the older musician and the aspiring high school songwriter are in similar situations, without a music studio or professional people to edit the sounds they produce.

In my humble opinion, my friends in those videos (as well as many others that just don’t put themselves out there in that way) sing their hearts out and pour their souls into each mere vibration that comes out of them. They, as well as many others, are the brave ones for putting their unedited voices on the internet for everyone to see and hear. I think it’s remarkable to be able to produce such harmonious sounds together into a video and to share it with others. It is a special talent that only some are blessed with. So if you have it, hold on tightly to this gift and utilize it as much as possible, as it will get you far in life.

That doesn’t mean that my cousins were wrong in their opinions of how my friends sounded, that just wasn’t what they were used to hearing and wasn’t the sound they correlated “good music” to. Music and diversity are very alike; it’s not good or bad or right or wrong, but more so something new to someone that they’ve never experienced before that just might be able to change someone’s life.


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