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Music and Information

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Music and Information


    Music is language. Language codes information, and so does music. It is quite fascinating how important music is in our life; it has always been. Sound, noise and silence are all examples of music. We experience music everyday of our lives. We use it in different ways, depending on our goal, aim and purpose.

    In an orchestra, the conductor reads musical notes, which may not make any sense for a lay person. The conductor decodes this information to different instruments, leading them and with their help, they all decode the information and the message meant behind the notations. It’s life, full of codes, information and all we need to do is try to learn the correct way of reading those signs, so we can understand the message behind it.

    For a long time, we have used music to express ourselves. We used noise to express our feelings, however basic they were, when we first felt happy, we made noise to express that feeling, saying “aaah!” and we preserved this communication by teaching it to one another, accompanying it with gestures, hoping that communication was effective in the end.  Going back to the conductor, she/he decodes the information present on the music sheet, and the collaborative work results in a beautiful communicative message to the audience. Every note, every pitch, every pause, is heard, and made known by us, delivering a sign and a hint, decoding an information, completing the puzzle.
    In performances, be it musical or a play, the orchestra in the background plays, to deliver the emotional messages of the scene. I can’t help but wonder, what information music codes, who is the coder, and the decoder, and how fascinating it is that our brains respond so bluntly to it? These questions remind me of the noise band we listened to, and how bizarre it sounded to me, and how mind awakening it was. Information and music are intertwined; music is information, it is present for us, for our benefit, for our advantage. Music is an extension of us; we produce it, yes using instruments, but it is made with our direct sources. I cannot help but mention the performance by John Cage, and how powerful his performances are. Music is incredibly informative, silence is loud, it speaks directly to the mind, informing it with its own emotions. I believe that silence is directed to the minds, to our hearts and souls. With silence we listen to what’s not being said, through emotions and heart beats, inhaling and exhaling.

    As time evolved, technology came in to the scene and led to the evolution of music on many levels. Recently enough, you can see how information and globalization have become intertwined with music. News and events occurring daily are reflected upon in so many ways, and more importantly, are reflected upon using music. We use Facebook as a source of information to portray our thoughts and opinions. This use of information is tied to the usage of music, because, like I have mentioned above, music is information coded within its lines and lines of notations. 

    I now reach my main examples of the importance of music in relation to our current events. People want to be heard, want to be understood, and they try all they can to be heard by those surrounding them, more so by those with power. In the Middle East, political regimes were not always well liked by their people. Moreover, for ages and centuries now, people have been oppressed by their leaders, their voices have not been heard, and they finally decided they wanted to be heard. Globalization, technology, science, and information came in handy, as did music. People extensively use Youtube, Facebook, tumbler, Twitter and all other social networks, to post news events, opinions, and latests updates about the current events. However, what reaches out to more people are music videos. Not only are well-known artists making music videos, regular people make music videos as a way to show their support to their brothers and sisters globally.

    Throughout time, Arabic singers have sung for their countries, for the Arabic dream of unity and freedom. These songs have touched the hearts of - confidently saying - almost every Arab. Music speaks to the hearts of the people, speaks for change and speaks for revolutions. Music videos were made to tell the stories of people. Music is made by artists, famous, known, unknown, or just amateurs hoping to reach out and be heard by the world. With technology, music videos are used to communicate and reach out. People’s voices are heard, understood and communicated through language - the language of music. It is very intriguing how important music is to our lives, and it continues and always will be a huge part of our communicative lives. We are humans, and in the end we strive to communicate, we reach out to others, long for their understanding and we use languages to achieve this longing and decode our information using music, expressing thoughts, opinions, and feelings.