The transforming power of music

According to the most common definition of the Royal Spanish Academy, music is the art of combining sounds of the human voice or instruments, or both at a time, so as to produce pleasure, stirring up sensitivity either happily or sadly. So, the RAE attributes to music the ‘power’ of moving either to cheer or to sadden.

The concept of music has evolved from its origins in ancient Greece, where it was one of six fine arts, along with architecture, sculpture, painting, literature and dance. Therefore, it is undeniable, that music is something intangible, sometimes difficult to define. The origin of the word comes from greek and means ‘the art of the Muses’, as the ancient Greeks believed that it was inspired by these goddesses.

Music can be a simple reflection of a state of mind, but it can also modify it. History is full with examples of both cases: remember hymns which showed a general feeling —the song ‘Libertad sin ira’, by Jarcha, a group from the Spanish Transition— or melodies that have helped to see things differently, even to change them —The Beatles, for example, came to be perceived as the incarnation of progressive ideals, extending its influence during the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s—. We can’t forget neither movements like punk, lead by the Sex Pistols.

However, it seems that since then, this transformer power is diluted. We are currently living hard times and music plays the role of a simple entertainment. No one, or very few, compose aware that music can be much more. Or maybe they do, but their work can not reach our ears, either because mercantilism is prevailing or either because society is still not truly aware that things must change Let us hope that music will become again an engine of change that will stir minds up. We will have to keep our ears wide open!