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God and Music

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by speed, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. speed

    speed Member

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    It has been suggested, that one can understand a culture's God, by understanding its music. From the 16-to the early 20th century, western man, created symphonic music that yearned for the heavens; it was mathmatically complex, yet emotionally moving. I've even read a few quotes that basically stated, God's greatest proof of existence is the music of Bach. Today, classical has shifted towards a more mechanistic and souless atonal style--perhaps coinciding with the age we live in and the God we belive in. In the east, music is very earthy, worldy even--perhaps just like their idea of God. In Africa, the music is primitive but energizing. In the middle east, the music has barely changed since Hellenistic times in terms of structure etc (arabic music is based on ancient Greek music), and their religion hasnt changed much in 1400 years either.

    Therefore, I am curious as to reactions on this idea. Does it have credence , or is it total nonsense?
     
  2. Lord SteveO

    Lord SteveO Hero in a world of demons

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    I think it's intereting indeed. Hundreds of years ago it would be sensible to assume that the way people in a country expressed themselves would be linked to the way they worshiped or who they worshiped. Similarly, every other aspect of a persons culture would also be similarly affectedby their religious habits.

    These days i think it's different. Music is made in one country, recorded in another and then bought and listened to in hundreds of others. All these places have wildly different religions, so it doesn't seem to have a huge impact.
    Music is psread round the world in seconds by computers, it would be sensible to assume that the influence of a persons god is not so far reaching. Does that make sense??

    To sum up, maybe this was the case many years ago, but in modren times i doubt it has much bearing.
     
  3. speed

    speed Member

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    I suppose first we must seperate popular music from the equation. I am not talking about popular music at all, only classical, or in the case the culture does not have classical, then traditional music.

    Why? Well because popular music, and this includes most metal, is created for almost materialistic consumption. There is neither higher meaning, nor intricacy and almost otherworldy intelligence placed in its composition.
     
  4. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    i find this most interesting.

    as another example, I want to add Handel's "Messiah". truly since traditional music reflects the artistic and therefore expression of a social consciousness, it really can be inferred what a society stands for through their art and music. this is how we, as archeologists, infer the climate of ancient societies through their pottery and paintings.

    as for the popular music question, i will play the other side and disagree. the popular music of our current society clearly reflects our disinterest in God, in faith, and our coveting of materialism. It shows how frivolous we are and how fashion-centric our society is. If you recall, "classical" music was, in its time, frequently commissioned by churches or other organizations as a paid venture to supplement events. It was no less commercial then than it is now. The difference lies in the cultural differences which are reflected in the music's nature.
     
  5. speed

    speed Member

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    I agree, with your views on popular music, thats why I seperated it. There is nothing to discuss. Hence, let us divest ourselves of the mere mention of popular music, before it becomes a scourge, and destroys the intention of this thread.

    The interesting fact of the matter, is that modern classical almost does the same thing as popular music, but in a far more interesting way--thus reflecting our belief in god. It is very mechanical, cold, yet intricate and mathmatically precise. Pop in something by Schoenberg, Messaien, Xenakis, or Stockhausen, hell even Britten--or related classical composers, and listen to the difference, yet the brilliance.
     
  6. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    Precisely, as it is a factor of the times, and not the genre, that truly makes the difference. Personally, I adore the original period "classical" music, as it reflected a much more spiritual society questing for the unknown. Also, the arrangements and composition were groundbreaking at the time
     
  7. Lord SteveO

    Lord SteveO Hero in a world of demons

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    I don't think in this period of time there is any music being created that trully reflects how a group is spiritualy.
    Or if such music exists, it is only likely to be found in places where the more materialistic producion of music has yet to get to.

    Such areas of the world are likely few and far between, though i'd guess that music created by Amazon tribes will be closely linked to their religious beliefs. Similarly, the music of African tribes will be related to their beliefs.

    Popular music as speed said, can't really be looked at in the same light. It's made for materialistic purposes, for money, or for personal gain. However i would agree with Kenneth R in that popular music does reflect the overall loss of interest in faith by people around the world.
     
  8. DuxTer

    DuxTer New Metal Member

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    In Western Europe from aproximately 1600 - 1800, in the Baroque and Classical period of music, sacred music was very important. You had Canatas and Oratorios, which have text from the bible and were often part of church services. (really structured and restrained) In the Romantic period, 1800 - 1900, with enlightement and science becoming a major influence and not the church, secular music became more popular and people started to experiment more as well (massive orchestras, Lot of emotion etc.)

    :)

    In present time popular music, as stated above, as made to make big money. A lot of artists can't even really sing but just look good and that sells. With voice mixers and all that stuff you can do a lot. In my opinion that is actually really, really sad. Big companies hire a good looking male/female who wants to be a 'star' and can 'sing.' Make him/her do recording and advertises big time for him/her. Sends him/her on tour to promote that companies stuff and his/her 'music' so they can make even more profit. A perfect example is what Mars did with this Dutch dude called 'Jim' who won the programme 'Idols' some time ago.
     
  9. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    You must understand one does not (in an artistic sense) go out and make a "popular" album. music that is well received by a wide audience becomes popular. it indicates the current social state of a group, because it IS what the majority associates with. (hence the word Popular). This generation is disenchanted with the spiritual world, and our popular music reflects this clearly.

    That people make music for money, personal gain, or materialistic purposes is besides the point. As I stated before, many beloved "classical" pieces were commissioned and paid for by private organizations, not limited to wealthy upper-class, churches, and companies. Cashing in on the popular appeal is not a new thing.

    Truly, every period of music reflects its society, including the current one. I cannot see how you seperate so-called "pop" music from other genres, as the nature of music is not genre-specific. All music is a form of expression of the inner self, whether this be in praise of a deity, in pursuit of pleasure, or simply a reflection of a desire for wealth and fame.

    My point of interest is in the "popular" music of different time periods, wide changes have taken place, due to changes in social climate. As we began discussing, music from the now-dubbed "classical" period of European composition was very religion-centered, asking the big questions and trying to personify the divine. By contrast, modern music generally objectifies the human body, glorifies wealth, and represents a disinterest in deeper issues.

    We can only predict what the music of the future will sound like when we understand the culture of the future.
     

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