A subconcious harmony



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Music has been used as a way to express deep emotional connections to everyday life events. In the ‘70s, music like “War,” by Edwin Starr, was used to consciously bring to light the Vietnam war. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, rap music was beginning to be a way for people to express how they felt about the conditions and ways of harsher communities here in America.

What about the subconscious effects that music can have on people, though? In the ‘50s and ‘60s simple rock n’ roll music such as Chuck Berry, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were cited as the originators of youth rebellion at that time. More seriously, in the 90’s, Marilyn Manson was accused of subconsciously inspiring the two Columbine shooters to release chaos and death on their schoolmates. Although these musicians could have unintentionally inspired certain aspects of these random acts of chaos, could their music really have affected people on a subconscious level?

At my restaurant of work, the ethics behind the music we play is to promote a fun and relaxing atmosphere, but not so fun that customers loiter. The music is up-beat, happy and energetic which makes it hard to just sit down and hang out for long periods of time. After two years of working there, I realize that this technique really does work; customers come in, sit and eat, then happily leave right after. This example of the effects music can have on us subconsciously can be the same virtually anywhere you go to eat, to shop or to hang out.

Music can affect everyone in almost any situation simply by the emotion the music evokes in people. Take for an example elevator music: that boring, drawn out, classical music is actually meant to put you at ease while a giant metal box swoops you up to the fifty-eighth floor of a giant building. If you’re not afraid of heights, then think of sports: essentially all the music you hear at sporting events is played to pump you up for the game so you cheer hard for your team.

In his book, “How Music Works,” David Byrne of the Talking Heads says, “Music resonates in so many parts of the brain that we can’t conceive of it being an isolated thing.” Music is powerful; so powerful that it has the capability to change the world and shed light on real issues. In today’s culture, this seems to be overshadowed by the intense focus on twerk teams and dresses made of paper. I think if people look past the superficial parts of today’s music, though, they could probably find something that affects them emotionally, or even subconsciously.