Other People's Music

in The Music between Us

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226333281
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226333274 | DOI:
Other People's Music

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According to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” It has the power to bring people of different cultures together. People who speak different languages may not usually understand each other, but music moves them across linguistic boundaries. For example, Germans who speak no Italian can still understand Italian music. The idea that music is a universal language retains currency among musicians, particularly those identified with so-called world music, but has become less commonplace than it once was. This book explores the nature and extent of musical universality, the ways in which music and emotion are connected, and the role of music in politics and propaganda in light of an inclusive notion of music that is not limited to music of the West. It also discusses universals and near-universals that appear to operate in the human experience of music and the extent to which they enable cross-cultural musical understanding. The book concludes with some reflections on music as a potential means for healing discord among different subgroups of people.

Keywords: music; emotion; musical universality; West; politics; propaganda

Chapter.  6836 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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