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Many musicians and people in general believe that music can express many things and thus it can even be considered a language. David Ludden from psychologytoday.com says:
Like language, music has syntax—rules for ordering elements—such as notes, chords, and intervals—into complex structures. Yet none of these elements has meaning on its own. Rather, it’s the larger structure—the melody—that conveys emotional meaning. And it does that by mimicking the prosody of speech.
This is true, and more than this, it becomes a universal language, due to the fact that the way music works in one place in the world, is how it works in every corner of the world. However this does not mean that it is the same music everywhere, as we can hear many differences depending on the history, culture and overall context from which the music comes from. Still, the idea is the same, and there is a melody in all of music that we can all understand. Victor Wooten, one of the greatest bassists of our generation believes that music is indeed a a language, and he shared some of his thoughts in a TED video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yRMbH36HRE

The Language Approach

It’s interesting how Wooten sees this as a way to embrace music, comparing the way we learn how to play musical instruments to learning how to speak as an infant. He even says that talking is like jamming, and that we are allowed to jam with professionals in order to learn how to speak. This is actually a very good way to learn, since it doesn’t rely on the traditional structures which can be a bit suffocating for a beginner, and it focuses more on a more natural way to communicate through the instrument. If the idea is to learn how to say things with music, then you have to be in control of what you are doing, and feel comfortable to say whatever it is that you want to say. Hypothetically, if a person were to follow the rules of traditional music learning but with English, and this person engages in a conversation, it would be extremely difficult for this person to react to some questions or interactions, since there has been little practice with this “jamming”. This is what connects people in music, engaging in a conversation in this form of language that does not include words. Many rock, blues and jazz bands use this method to compose, turning conversations into an organized song. The Japanese artist “Noah” has a similar understanding of how she handles her musical works. She said in an interview with NBAHP:
My sound changes if needed. Music is my language in another aspect. I find I choose tempo, sound, harmonies as necessary, like you choose words or tones or tempo, when you have something to tell.

The Convergence Point

Art by Michael Graves
The idea of music as a language can also reflect how every culture and context adds to the richness of this universal language and makes it evolve in unexpected ways. As we get the opportunity to become more connected, music is one of the main protagonists in this enterprise. A good question would be: Would we be more isolated if it weren’t for music? Whether it’s in a party or at an opera, music has some sort of magic of bringing people together in a way that other forms of art cannot, and it’s because of this “universal language” idea. These days music is the greatest form of communicating, so if your dream is to be a musician, think very well about what you want to say, there is a chance that someone in the other side of the world will listen.
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History has taught us that music is an art form that can make its way into every place and context there are ears to listen, this includes celebrations, complement other art forms, entertainment, politics and even war. There have been many events throughout history that have taken advantage of the power of music, as in a power that can move and alter someone’s feelings. One of these feelings is the inspiration a human being needs to leave fear aside, be brave and fight for a specific goal.

From Ancient Greece to Modern Times

Music in war has served several functions, since ancient times, from songs made for heroes, to convey bravery in the battlefield or to serve as prelude to war in camps. In Greece, and Rome, drums, brass and horns were used as instruments for war. However in the middle ages, the role of music changed and now it was only prominent near churches and could not be found near battlefields for some time. This changed during the Crusades as the Saracens began to use music as a military instrument for communication. It became clear that music as an instrument to give orders and communicating in a way that the enemy would not understand was a valuable tactic that should not go to waste. Niccolo Machiavelli took some interest in the role of music in war saying that:
I place the trumpets, as better fitted than any other [instrument] to be heard in the midst of noise of every kind … [And] near the constables and the battalion commanders, I wish there to be little drums and flutes, played not as they now are in armies, but as they are usually played at banquets.
With technological advances and drastic differences in the way wars were handled, music started to fill the role of propaganda and a way to boost people’s morale in times of crisis. There was also a shift from Jazz and Classical music towards protest music around world war 2 and the Vietnam war.

A New Kind of Weapon in War

war
In “Stop Making Sense: Music from the Perspective of the Real” Scott Wilson talks about Operation Just Cause:
The effective use of music as a psychological tactic was decisively confirmed for the US military by the success of Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989 where it was used as both a barrier to President Manuel Noriega’s communications with the outside world and a powerful incentive for his removal by the local residents of and around the Vatican consulate. It also had the added benefit of driving Noriega himself nuts. Aware that Noriega was a fan of opera (no point in Wagner then), but hated rock music, the military blasted the Pope’s House with AC/DC, Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Led Zeppelin and others, with satisfying results. ‘Operation Just Cause became a seminal event in the practice of utilizing music as a distinct psychological practice’ (Pieslak, 82). Subsequently, the hard rock/metal genres have, along with rap, been the music of choice for the military, paradoxically perhaps for both recreational as well as operational purposes.
Music covers a great deal of importance in the history of wars around the world, even though today, it’s not used in the same way as it once did. The role of music in war these days is a more personal one, and it seeks to keep a balanced mind as a way to deal with all the violence and traumas of war. There are many interesting details and stories surrounding this topic, keep your eyes peeled for more history of music in war. Topic recommendation: Woodkid, a musician who offers a modern take on orchestral arrangements, war like drums and vocals.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSkb0kDacjs
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Music production was inevitable ever since audio got to be recorded, the idea of recording music and listening at any moment became something extremely interesting, not to mention, difficult, and nowadays it requires a lot of time and dedication to be able to produce music in order to be reproduced in the best way possible, maintaining a clean and crystal clear sound. Producers have to work with the artist as if they were partners, or part of the same band. Nile Rodgers a very well-known producer says:
Almost all the producers I know and dig, like Quincy Jones or Brian Eno, are really musicians first. I’m a composer, an orchestrator, an arranger and a musician first. I know how to write and rewrite songs, and the genius is really in the rewriting. You don’t hear the first or second or sometimes only fiftieth thing we producers do, you hear the final one. That’s the gift of really great producers: they’re terrific writers or rewriters.
But what do they actually do?

Production

Music production is all about cleaning the sound and rearranging the music, this means that every instrument can be distinguished from the others, equalization is done correctly, the tempo is perfect and at the same time, recording and producing can be a great moment to reevaluate the song, and considering adding or taking something away in order to get a more accurate version of the idea. The producer also works as a reality check in some occasions due to the fact that sometimes, the composer’s idea does not sound that clear in reality, and some changes have to be made. This process has also changed over the years as many other areas of music. Digital offers unlimited editing and tracks, and has very affordable storage.  Compatibility with other studios is easy. Analog has limited editing and only 24-tracks.  However, analog offers exceptional sound quality.

Digital

music production
Dave Grohl said on the “Sound City” documentary: ““Nowadays, it’s almost easier for young bands,”
“You can record an album in in your living room for free and with the click of a button you can distribute it to the entire world. If you’re really good, you can go out and play a gig and let everyone know you’re coming. You have to get outside of the conventional processes we used to use, you know, like radio or records or any of that crap. Ultimately, if at the end of the day, if you’re really f**** good at what you do and you go out and play for other people and they see that you’re really f**** good, that’s how it starts. But don’t expect to be Justin Bieber.
Dave’s point is very true, nowadays the internet, computers, and digital studios, it’s very easy to start a music project, the only issue with this, is that the competition is bigger than ever. The first part of this new way of producing music is composing something, then record it the best way you can with what you have, then you do the work of a producer by polishing and making every sound work as it should; if you get all of that right you may still not get any kind of recognition due to the lack of social media presence. Still making music in the comfort of your room will never be as good as recording in a studio with a producer. Whether you want to be a producer or not, it’s always good for a musician to familiarize with how production works, and if interested enough go as far as to produce some music, to learn and have the experience, there is no doubt this will make you a better musician.
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