So what is it about music?
Chicken Shack perform the type of music that made a joy of my youth, the youth in question being me by the way. The Rhythm and Blues, plus the Blues itself, were the basis for the music that changed the world during the sixties. The Liverpool bands became so successful because the stewards on the liners that took the rich to New York would bring back records found there that could never be known about via the then BBC 'Light Programme.' Such records ended up amongst the Lennon's and McCartney's of Liverpool and a new sound arrived.
But what did it mean?
I enjoyed much of the music, however much the BBC continued to play us with 'Bubblegum Music' instead, but why did that music mean so much to us?
Each generation requires its own sound, it has always been thus. J.B. Priestley, a somewhat famous English author, spoke of the jazz music whose syncopated rhythms moved his generation. Today these sounds are rarely heard bar those seeking early Jazz and are considered tame. World War Two found big band sounds the music which could win the war but the teenager, not a new found creature as some like to believe human nature does not change, the teenager of the fifties with his Edwardian jacket, winklepicker shoes and slim Jim ties was so entranced by 'Bill Haley and his Comets' that he happily tousled his Brylcreamed hair while ripping up cinema seats. The music was the backdrop to all of this, but why?
Each generation requires music to identify with, each age also, each layer of society decides what is acceptable where and when. No matter which part of the world you investigate they all have music of a sort. Music is just sounds, usually made by sticks on a surface, blowing through or over some tube, or via the voice itself. Japanese music may be acceptable in 19th century Japan but it is unlikely to be popular in Hounslow on a wet Tuesday night when aircraft landing at Heathrow drown out the sound.
There is so many different kinds of music, yet we usually only listen to a small fraction for our own delight. Painters and scaffolders love to listen to the local pop channel, loudly. Young folks, and some old, must walk about these days with headphones in their ears to hear the latest album stolen from somewhere on the web. Car drivers need the gentler sounds to aid concentration, as indeed do many surgeons. Football crowds, and the team itself, are often encouraged to get in at them via the playing of the teams song and churches begin to worship by singing praise. Armies marching to battle gee themselves up with music, the words amended to fit with the enemy and therefore unsuitable for gentler climes. One Chines General in the 19th century took Christian hymns and gave them new words and discovered how much this strengthened his men as they marched. Chinese music not being capable of this.
Music today is all around us and we need it. However why does it do what it does to us. How on earth can such a thing change our moods, delight us, infuriate us or just become wall paper? Can even the musical answer this?