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The Power of Music On The Human Soul

Updated on August 13, 2011

A Definition of Music

Music is a powerful tool. According to Word Web dictionary their definition of music is ‘An artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner’. The key word to point out there is ‘communication’. At the heart of music is the communication of thoughts, feelings, desires, philosophies, inspirations, fantasies and virtually everything else that can be communicated from one party to another.

But what makes music so dynamic as a form of communication? Before we explore that, it is interesting to understand that the word ‘music’ comes from the word ‘muse’. Muse means to think of, meditate on, wonder upon or to gaze. We meditate to make thoughts one with our thoughts. It’s a method in by which we engraft a foreign thought/mind-set to become a part of our mental system.

So to sum up the word muse really means to make thoughts one. Whether we know it or not, the songs we listen to educate or instruct us positively or negatively, giving us words which create thoughts in us in which we muse with.

Music and Human Soul

Now the thing distinguishes music from other communicative techniques is obviously the beats, rhythms, melodies which combined make creative and vibrant sounds. These sounds have a great effect on the human soul especially your emotions.

Now if you look at that word ‘emotion’ you see the word ‘motion’. When we think of motion we understand it to mean movement. Another words emotion is what makes us move. Emotions are the feelings of love, happiness, sadness, desire, hate, fear and the list goes on. These feelings cause us to think, act and express ourselves in different ways.

For example if I have the feeling of love towards a particular person, that would motivate me to express that love in an act such as caring for them, giving them a gift, meet up or go out with them. That feeling of love will attract you to another person, people or a thing. If I had the feeling of hatred towards someone that could make me want to express it by abusing them with words, like calling them nasty names, or I could even physical hurt them to inflict pain upon them and go even as far killing them if my feeling of hatred escalated to a grand level. Our emotions often times affect those around us

Now how does music effect emotions? Do you ever get the time when you’re feeling normal or even a little bit down and you play one of your favourite songs? What happens when you do play your favourite songs? Why is it one of your favourites or most liked? The reason why you like it so much is because of the way it makes you feel and you enjoy that feeling. Consciously and sub-consciously your mind remembers the emotions related to that song or artist or genre. Your music can make you feel on top of the world or heartbroken because it relates to the fact that you’ve just broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

I’ve heard artists commonly comment on their own music saying they are successful because of their ability to relate to the listeners. That’s why Tupac Shakur had nearly every young person that lived a tough life in the ghetto loving his music, because he was saying through his songs ‘I know your struggle’. That’s why Alicia Keys has millions of young women buying her albums because she is saying ‘I am in love with this man’ or ‘this is what I want in a man’. Isn’t that the main principle about communication, the ability to connect to your audience? Music artists through the avenue of music, try to connect with their audience.

Music changes atmospheres and sets the mood. Listen to slow jams and all you’ll be thinking about relationships. Listen to classic music and you may feel calm, peaceful or even creative. Listen to heavy rock metal and you likely feel very wild indeed. The music affects our moods and sets an atmosphere in the place we are in, causing everyone else to feel the way you do and think the way you do which results in people being effectively being united, even just for the duration of a song.

Sub Conscience and Memory

Going back to the distinction of music as communicative technique, compared to others we say that its beats, rhythms, melodies which combine to make creative and vibrant sounds, makes it different. Music has this amazing ability to enter your sub-conscious without you even having to accept it into your mind. Ever been in a room where a song is playing, a song that you really don’t like? Most often than not, that same song will get into your head. Even when you walk out the room, the sounds, lyrics, beats or all of them will silently continue playing within you. You will often say “I can’t get this song out of my head’. When you hear that music it makes you feel and think a certain way.

There is also the connection between the musical sounds and your memory. Have you ever tried to tell someone the lyrics of a song but just couldn’t remember it. What do you then instinctively do? You begin to recite the melody and rhythm of the song in which then brings back to your memory of the lyrics that you moments before had forgotten. The sounds that you recreated opened a door for the words to flow back into your mind. How do nursery teachers teach the young kids the A B C’s? They often teach by saying the letters in a song which is made to a rhythm or melody which is easy enough for them to flow with. “All together now class. A B C D E F G”. Rhythms and sounds help us to remember certain words and phrases

Music is unquestionably a powerful force. The human race couldn’t really survive without it because of the great effect it has upon us. It influences the individual, the home, the community, the nation and the entire world. I would challenge you in saying that the most influential leaders are not the politicians and the royal families, but it is really the music artists that are leading the world. But that’s another argument


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      Shandelle 18 months ago

      I agree wholeheartedly that music artist influence the world, the church. For under the guise of 'gospel' - the word itself, which has been reduced to a genre of music rather than the 'GOOD NEWS that it is, it seems that the choir is what prompts one to 'join' churche rather than the message that was preached. Likewise pastors tend to hire the best worship leaders, the best vocalists and musicians so that what they have on Sunday morning is a performance rather than a worship service. However there are many who are not 'falling for it' for they tend to show up at church just to hear the message rather than music that they can turn on any secular radio station and hear the same beats, rhythms and self-serving messages at any time. (Writing a book about it myself.)

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      Johnette Brownell 5 years ago

      woow this is a lot x well done daniel this is indeed an eye opener for everyone who will read it. bless you its indeed very educating. love u keep up the good work. this has really added to my knowledge x i really liked this.

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      Kosmos Diallasso 5 years ago

      AHHHH this is so funny! i literally just went upstairs after reading this and my mum was humming a song i haven't heard since i was young and i instantly remembered it and then her best friend who was just walking upstairs as well started singing it randomly and i was like WOW!!! and now it's stuck in my head lol!

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      Kosmos Diallasso 5 years ago

      Whoo this is heavy man ... and our first nature is our emotion so music does not just relate to us it allows the author of the beat or rhythm or lyrics to adjust our nature to his thoughts. Now that's why in the days 2 twoPackage (Tupac), you usually had young people who wanted to be rappers or just emulating him in a certain way. it's crazy man! but nail on the head though music artist do rule the world but which also highlights a danger who is in control? dum dum dum!

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      Daniel Williamson 6 years ago

      Thanks for the vote up susannah42...glad u liked it

      Yea you are absolutley right Steve.....Music truly has the abilty to do many things to us no matter who we are....I think there are many more mysteires about music that need to be unfolded....

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • SteveHall profile image

      SteveHall 6 years ago from Mountain View, CA 94040

      You nailed it, on this subject, I have always known about music as a language of it's own. That it crosses all the other languages, all over the world. No matter what race, religion, or work we do, music hits us in many different ways, It can change our mood, our feeling, our viewpoints, and even our intelligence too. It can drive us to task completion, or relax us to sleep. It can also fill a gap, from loss, or calm us before a message. It's often called the language of love!!!

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      Voted up. It is amazing how music can affect your mood and motivation.