By: Ben Fraser
Music is a universal language, something that we all understand. In every culture, every country, and every background, you will find music. It is vitally important across the globe and has the potential to bring people together in peace and harmony. One of my favorite experiences in music is seeing musicians from different cultures come together and perform as a group. When each culture brings its own unique qualities to the group, an entirely new sound is achieved. This can create extraordinary results. Each musician can communicate with each other using music as the common language.
One common musical thread between cultures is known as the pentatonic scale. It is astonishing how many cultures share this tool in approaching music. The pentatonic scale consists of five notes; “penta-” meaning 5, and “tonic” meaning tone or note. This scale can be found everywhere including the music of Native Americans, Celtic tradition, Africa, and Asia. It is also found in popular music, blues, jazz, and rock. Using this five note scale, musicians from around the globe have a medium through which they can relate, communicate, perform, and ultimately understand each other.
There is no known society that existed without music. Although each culture has their own specific style and approach to music, you will find that the purposes behind music are very similar across the board. Music is essentially to express or change emotions. It can cheer you up, sadden you, anger you or excite you. Music is often ceremonial: used in religion, ritual, and celebration. Music can simply be recreational: entertaining, joyful and fun. Any way you have used music, it almost certain that every other culture has used music in the very same way. And that is something that bonds all of us. We all share a deep love for music and it has the power to unite us.