Thoughts: Music as Language (part 1)

Art Music (“classical music”):

All precomposed music can be seen as a sort of speech. It is prewritten for a specific purpose, an aim, directed at a specific audience. In the case of art music, it employs a wide range of characteristics meant to affect as many walks of life as possible in order to say something very mature. There is often eloquence, grace, comedy, aggression, passion, innuendo, intellectualism, and pure visceral emotion included in these works. Moreover, there is often an easily recognizable theme which will carry these characteristics gracefully and ensure a climactic story-like ending. Of course, this is not always the case but for what most refer to as classical music, this is a description we can rely on in the most broad sense. It can be likened to a great presidential speech which draws an audience of thousands, millions, and speaks in a language which holds something powerful for those in poverty up to the richest classes. It inspires and unites while standing on a high stage and overseeing its vast audience. But because of this there will always be a hierarchy associated with it.


In the case of popular rock music, the precomposed forms and structures are still present but often much simpler. Compared to the classical music metaphor of a president’s speech, rock is more appropriately likened to a speaker with a mega horn leading a protest or rally. It is often more loud, aggressive, and meant for an audience in a state of action, whatever that may be. It is not as graceful, or eloquent but rather course and utilitarian in its language for the purpose of getting the point across in a succinct manner.