Essay on Music

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From the rock and roll music of today, to the jazz and big band music of the thirties, all the way to tribal drums and the chanting of monks, music is ever present in society. What is it about music that allows it to transcend time? Music is not something that can be easily explained. How would one define the way simple rhythms and melodies can create an entire world? Music is free and undefined. It is not hindered by language barriers, and its only boundaries are within the imagination of the musician or composer. Music is the essence of passion and contains endless possibilities.

To write a piece of music, a composer cannot simply throw together random notes. They have to think about what sounds will capture the feelings and sensations they are attempting to convey. Writing music is a form of expression. The end product shows a piece of the maker. Just as a poet searches for the perfect combination of words, so a composer carefully selects notes and instruments to create a melody.

But, as much effort goes into writing music, a musician does not simply read the notes on a page and mindlessly reproduce them. A musician must determine what the music is about, and then portray that message. What makes a musician great is the ability to put a part of themselves into what they are playing. They must make the music come alive.

In some cases a musician isn’t even reading music. In many jazz pieces there are improvisation solos. This means the soloist is playing by ear, they have no music to look at. The soloist listens to the chords and harmonies happening within the band and then creates a melody. Improving is about feeling the music and intuitively grasping where it is going.

Music is not a science. A musician can play the notes and rhythms written on a page perfectly, but unless they throw themselves into the music and become a part of it, the music will be bland and emotionless. Music is never apathetic. Musicians only connect to their audience by entwining their fervor and passion into each strand of the music.
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