Thursday, October 7, 2010

Does Music Bridge Cultures?

Hans Christian Anderson, nineteenth century Danish author of children's fairy tales said: "Where words fail, music speaks." My question to my readers is: Does the music of one culture speak to those of another culture? During World War I, some German soldiers reached across enemy lines to spend Christmas Eve with the British when they hear the familiar strains of "Silent Night" wafting over the battlefield. Would this music have had the same effect if heard by Japanese soldiers to whose ears it might have sounded strange?
I am looking for answers from readers of different cultural backgrounds.Would you please listen to these selections, preferably with your eyes closed and then answer these questions, either as a comment or as an e-mail to me at: Responses may be used in a book I'm currently writing. You may remain anonymous if you like. 

  1. What is your country/culture of origin?
  2. What emotions did you feel as you listened to each piece?
  3. Did you like them?

Traditional Chinese music: Lofty Mountains and Flowing Water

Traditional Indian Music

Italian Opera: Andrea Bocelli Sings Nessun Dorma

American Gospel: Mahalia Jackson sings "He's Got the World in HIs Hands"

Thank you so much to all of you who participate in this research!

1 comment:

  1. I don't typically associate emotions to the music I'm listening to, I'm not quite sure why, but I was able to scrounge some up for a couple of the songs. The Chinese piece made me feel discontented, the Italian piece was sad I guess, and I couldn't come up with anything for the other two, but I liked them all.