Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Music & Language

First let us understand the importance of music, and the role it plays in our daily lives without us even realizing may be.

Till 1960s scientists felt that the primary function of Human DNA was protein synthesis. But now they know differently. Scientists now say that only 3% of DNA's function is protein synthesis, the rest 97% of DNA's function is to respond to sound frequencies, and vibrations.

This new revelation might explain the profound over-powering experience music often has on people.

Also many scientists and musicians have collaborated on projects to record the vibrational frequencies of the four base molecules of DNA and convert them into sound frequencies and make music out of these frequencies. So it turns out everybody is like a note of music really.

Now coming to language.

Before well defined spoken language came about,there were only sounds. Just like even today all species of animals have sounds that they use to interact ideas and emotions.

These sounds might not make any sense to us, but they very well get the idea across to the members of their own species.

Obviously enough today these sounds seem inefficient to us humans because we feel there are better ways to express ideas.

But language was born out of nothing but these primitive sounds. Out of our need to communicate more efficiently. But even though the languages used today might be a little superior way of interacting, it's hardly an improvement as far as true communication goes.

Words are dead and inert, and a meaning has been assigned to each one. But they are still sounds, more refined sounds may be. But still sounds that we use to express our ideas.

But how do we know that we actually communicate our ideas using language?

For example the word 'food' might have completely different meanings to different people. To a rich guy it might be symbolic of the food he ate in an expensive restaurant the previous night or all through out his life and might bring about a happy memory.

But the same word might have completely different meaning to a poor man who has only seen his family and himself struggle for food. For him it might be a word he attaches a lot of sadness to.

So we see that language is limited and sometimes true communication, in fact most of the times true communication might take place without any exchange of words.

Now let us examine the role of language in music.

We have seen that language is limited. Hence when you listen to a song with lyrics it produces limited familiar emotions that a language is capable of producing.

Where as, in music without lyrics where you are producing emotions just with music without words, your musical experiences are no more confined by language and its limitations. Hence the listener experiences more pure emotions and is open to unknown and different states of mind.

Also if you can produce emotions in a song without being bound by words, and language it somehow seems like much more pure form of music. It also seems that it takes a lot more out of a musician to bring emotions out without the use of language.

Even the experience for the listener is more pure and limitless.

I am not comparing the two kinds of music as good and bad and I am not discriminating against one kind of music and supporting another with a bias. I listen to any kind of good music. But I am aware of the limitations of different kinds of experiences.
And by putting you through experiences untouched by language and culture which is a product of the past, this kind of language free music might also help you open your mind up to possibilities that language can never bring about.


  1. wow! so many many things I want to say, but at a loss from where to start. you seriously think that words limit or confine emotions? words are dead and inert? I think a lot of great authors just pissed themselves in their graves. "food might have a different meaning to different people"yeah just like drinking water might remind me of the time i almost drowned while learning to swim or breathing reminds me of the time i almost couldn't find my inhaler. come on, you're talking about such separate things. food or oxygen or water- the basic necessities of keeping you alive, dont denote or remind you of anything.. at most what they can remind you of the pure fresh air opposed to the city filth or going hungry for days and suddenly getting to eat food.
    music be it electronic or classical- with lyrics or without can never be compared. what might be music to you may be rubbish to me or vice one on this earth can tell me my music has lesser pure emotions compared to some hipsters non lyrical music.
    Music is perceptive. various tribes all over the world have their own music, they might contain lyrics or they might not, methinks they wont really connect to the PURE EMOTIONAL non lyrical electronic etc.
    It's also at times region specific, folk songs, classical baritones so on, I reckon not many of those high pitched folk singers would ever get the non lyrical jargon you're about.
    So basically its each to their own, music is a perception and could depend on the culture, ethnic race,region, popular culture, environment and the awareness of the listener.
    Music is pure in any form- it depends on who is listening, dont brand it as less pure or more pure. music is music, with or without lyrics.. and seriously language doesn't restrict, which is why all the great civilizations resorted to creating a language instead of thumping on tree trunks and bongos to communicate..

  2. Seriously??
    Btw musicians have their own sense of making music to provide nourishment to their inner genius, perhaps a person who is not stoned will not get electronic music for him it will more sound like a beeper and keyboards being played by a two year old nitwit and food is a basic necessity and its the same for all to stay alive just like electronic music and see if any jungle nomad understands the so called pure emotions, probably not, for him music might be singing tribal songs and dancing along with them and yes there is pure happiness in that too.
    Bach, Ludwig, Mozart dint have any lyrics in many of their symphonies but the were also not electronic and they were truly cherished by every one who heard it.....Its the level of appreciation of the music made may be the musician can be electronic for you, bollywood beats for me or shastri sangeet crap for anyone else and yes the tribal songs for the Jungle nomad....Peace.

  3. @others ...Well I ..I think He never ever trying to compare any kind of music to other types .The last para ..If i may assume ...
    Music may be of many types ..What ever you wanted was you tried to reach people in its purest form ..So that it reaches every one ..TO ALL .Its reaches as it was meant to be in its nascent form ..Pure as it was meant to be ...But it reaches so that it connects everyone for the better ..In a FASTER way ...Without losing it's idendity.

  4. @first two people. I will say what I feel reading your comments, of course you guys can deny what ever I say.

    But you guys failed to read or try to understand what I am saying here completely.


    Hahaha! And yes, I never said that language is useless. If it was completely useless even I would have pissed my pants and not tried to share something using words and language. But at the same time I am also aware of the limitations of language, hence I was not surprised that my message was not clearly conveyed.

    And yes language is a better way of communicating compared to thumping on tree trunks and bongos. But does that make it the perfect unlimited form of communication?

    The very fact that I said something using words in this blog, and was not fully understood by you guys shows the limitation of language as a medium. And that is my point.

    And if you read a little more carefully, you will see that I am not trying to uphold any one kind of music over any other. Be it tribal or any other kind. There are many examples of music without lyrics. But I can not possibly name all of them, or think of all of them while writing this because I am more involved in a different point I am trying to make.
    I am not so troubled by these different kinds of music, hence my attention doesn't go to these things. Please forgive me.

    I changed just "electronic music" to "electronic music, or any other piece of music where you are producing emotions just with music without words" precisely for people like you who would miss the point of the post and just get caught up in different kinds of music.

  5. If you guys are still not able to understand what I am trying to convey.

    Currently nothing can be done about this communication gap that is there, some of it due to limitation of language, and some added limitations of the medium involved here.

    But try to delve a little into semantics (study of language), may be my point will be clearer to you. Or if we can meet in person I am sure we can have more efficient discussion.

  6. The reason you weren't able to convey as desired is not due to the limited extent of language but probably because you're not that great a writer:no offense.
    Smugly telling others what they failed to understand you, methinks you should make a better attempt at being more explanatory. Some of the best thoughts, literature and philosophies have been conveyed through the medium of language and have been understood and interpreted.
    delving into the vast and niche study of semantics just to be able to understand your blog makes no sense.
    saying that this medium isnt enough to convey your thoughts, doesn't hold any water since Revolutions have known to happen in 140 characters or less and this is a freakin' blog for crying out loud. So its not the medium where you put in the language, but the words and the impact they can have.
    Your writings are neither definitive nor able to sway thoughts that they need be understood to the extent of reading up other material to completely get you.
    language is by no means limited. language is what has nourished and enriched this world.
    Im a lone wolf, travel alone in my singular herd..

  7. No offense taken :) . I don't claim to be a great writer anyway. But I have ideas that are worth sharing none the less. You can challenge this as well.

    Also if it was just my writing skills that were incomplete here, then nobody would have really made sense of what I am saying. But many have the understanding to make sense of what I am saying, and many don't. And I am not smugly telling anybody anything. I can see there is a communication gap (frequency mis match) because of which there is difference in our understandings.

    As far as "Some of the best thoughts, literature and philosophies have been conveyed through the medium of language and have been understood and interpreted"

    While you feel these thoughts of literature and philosophies have been conveyed and interpreted successfully through language. I don't think so. They might have passed on of course from generations to generations through the use of language. But they have hardly been conveyed or understood. If they had been conveyed and understood. World would have been a much better place.
    Buddha said a lot of things, and it got passed on through generations of people. Those sayings are still available for people to read with the help of language.

    But if you ask me are those messages getting conveyed. I would say no.
    Of course you can hold a different point of view. But that is no reason for me or for you to be offended.
    Let us be at peace with the fact that there are different point of views.

  8. Also no one is questioning the positive role language has played in society. Of course language has played a vital role in the development of ideas and humanity. Anybody would be a fool to think otherwise.

    But it is limited is what I am trying to say.

    And to understand that you have to understand the concept of semantics. Not to understand my point of view. But if you are interested in understanding this topic. And that can happen only if you are open to the possibility that may be there are a few things in this world that may be you don't understand.
    And don't get me wrong I am not being smug or rude. But you still have the right to feel that way.

  9. As far as you disagreeing with me is concerned. You don't even have to delve into the "vast" topic of semantics. The fact that language is limited is a well known fact among the people who study semantics. And should be easily obtainable from a few videos off of youtube or google.

    Also just because these people say language is limited doesn't mean that they are not aware of the positive role language has played in the society. But they know also about it's limitations. And once you understand that, you can try and understand my post. Then my inefficient writing skills will not come in your way of understanding the point raised.

  10. Every individual has his own way of interpreting every view point in his or her own manner, your blog was merely your interpretation towards a specific point of view held by you and most probably also understood by people around you in your words your frequency people avoiding the frequency mismatch which is always the case with any outsider or a person from different school of thought.

    Feelings in words or in music is always understood and interpreted by every person in his or her own way, since that is the reason everyone is different and every one is special and gifted and has had a different environment in upbringing hence be a movie, novel, song pleasure every person has their own perception, interpretation as well as conclusion thats what makes everyone different yet alike.

    Truly words have always made impact on the ever growing and hungry human mind but when it comes to extracting the juice out of it each human being has his or her own way of understanding and implicating the expression in his or her own perception.

    Philosophies which used to change the course of mankind merely by words is unable to do so in this materialistic world because people in todays time prefer to superimpose their thoughts and view points on others by not even listening to the topic which according to them is not matching their view point.
    Hence the constant struggle of understanding prevails and will always exist because man is a self-oriented animal and has always disconnected himself from any sort of discomfort be it in view points, understanding in life or school of thought.....Stay Happy, Love all and enjoy the journey called life because everyone is just a passenger in this trip called life....Peace Mate.

  11. touche...
    yet again @passingby mentions "once you understand that, you will understand my post".. i think you should stop taking yourself so seriously. I get that you do a lot of thinking and its fantastic that you put your thoughts out there, but dont expect people to understand your post, just because you completely understand it.
    You might have definitely raised an important point from your perspective-true, but its not important to others and it shouldn't make a difference to you either.
    Coming to the main point- in my opinion language or lyrics in music do not hamper or restrict its emotions at all. in fact most people are able to relate to the lyrics in the music on an absolute level. maybe its time you do a lot of varied music listening which have lyrics..
    Peace v

  12. Now we are going into philosophies of life. And I am not going to even try and delve into that here. And I don't agree with most of what you have said, but i agree with some. Your points are something that have been floating around society for decades if not centuries.

    And there is not much thought behind these statements.

    As far as point of views are concerned. I understand what you are saying. But you have yet not tried to understand what is being said here.

    We have gone verrrrryyyy far from the original topic of post. So this is my last reply.

    Also not every man need be strictly self-oriented. Men at large are like that because men at large are thoughtless. And self-orientation is an animal instinct, and the way in which this instinct kicks in or works is through formation of ego. But there is no reason why one can not rise beyond that.

    Your latest comment is in no way connected to the topic of the post. You know why? Because your ego is inventing all these explanations you are giving here to try and not be hurt.

    And these things you talk about - "Love all and enjoy the journey called life because everyone is just a passenger in this trip called life....Peace Mate. " You clearly don't know the meaning of - love, or life or peace .

  13. @constantgriever yes! it makes no difference to me if people find my point of view useless. Of course not. I was trying to explain my point here because I thought that the kind of people who take the pain of commenting on other people's blogs do so to probably discuss the different point of views.
    And not just to satisfy their egos. But you guys have clearly thought me something. :) . So thank you for that.

    I am indifferent to whether people understand or don't understand what I am saying. But if someone raises a question to something I have said I try and clarify that. You people clearly are not serious about discussing anything.

  14. Again every one has his own interpretation of Love, Life or Peace.....Mine is perfect in my view point and yours might be perfect in your own view point but frankly the ego part is not from my side, I do sense a little steam in your reply but ya no offense after all you are also a fellow human trying to solve the riddle called life but still miles from the right direction.....if you felt raged due to my comment my bad but seriously do you think it was vague.

    I mean how can you define Love, Life or Peace its different to all and is different to me and is perfect in my own viewpoint and yours might be perfect in your viewpoint perhaps if we exchange our viewpoints then your wills be senseless to me and visa-versa.
    Hence be it music, philosophy or school of thoughts just try and accept that every one has different connotations for every thing nothing is perfect since perfect is what can only be accepted as the best and best is again not defined, it all comes from within thats why......Love all and enjoy the trip called life because you are merely a passenger just like any of us with nothing new or special since it all comes from within :)
    You are most welcome to feel raged about this too, but the fact is fact and it is all within us Peace fellow human may the positive energy of the universe be with you :)

  15. Nice one mate! You see the irony- I think I may have captured the "essence" of what you are conveying, or perhaps, think I may have understood your post in totality but I can never be sure about it. Even if I want to convey my acknowledgement I would find my language to be limited to convey my message. So, if you think about it we are never really convey our thoughts. Its just, as you pointed out, words are dead and inert. But, yes, music does. So does love, i hear. :)
    -Pushkar J

  16. I DONT UNDERSTAND most you of the writng but i agree that love doesetisalat data plan work the most technologically wonderful things