One Language

One Language

“Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Language is more than spoken word; it is the way that we communicate with one another. While we may not understand what others are saying if a language barrier exists, we are able to still communicate through body expression and emotions shared. Smiling, crying, laughing, yelling, and trembling in fear are examples of universal emotions that can be understood despite varying languages. Likewise, in music, there are emotions evoked that speak to us no matter the language in which the lyrics are written. We don’t have to understand the words to detect the mood in most songs that we hear. Why? Because music involves not only the lyrics but also many more key elements. The tempo, the dynamics, the pitch, and the continuity are all examples of musical elements which evoke emotion and may aid in determining the mood of songs. All of these elements transcend language barriers and can be experienced by people globally. Every instrument plays an integral role in directing the course of musical compositions by contributing a unique sound peculiar to the instrument. For example, it would not be difficult to detect the piccolo, the violin, the harp, or the cymbals within a musical piece because they each have their own distinct sound, and their placement can significantly add to the mood of the music. Moreover, not only through such factors as the intensity and the tempo but also through the chords in which the music is composed as well as the syntax with which the music is arranged, it may be easily determined if a song is meant to convey, for instance, joy or anguish. These factors contribute to music being considered the universal language. While there are over 7,000 different languages found across the globe, music is able to unite people because it conveys emotions with which we can all relate. Such emotions as the happiness associated with being in love, the anguish of heartache, the nervous anticipation associated with making new discoveries, the serenity in basking in assurance, and the anger in being betrayed can all be expressed within the sounds of the various instruments, both individually and cooperatively interwoven into musical compositions. Music communicates through expression and through relation, and it is able to transcend boundaries and reach all beings. It is important to note that while music can be experienced even without knowing the lyrics, many fans across the world have been inspired by what they hear and have chosen to learn the lyrics, despite possibly having to understand an unaccustomed language, in order to more fully experience the songs from various artists.