Music speaks universal language


By Sara Seibel

Illustration by Faith Evans
Illustration by Faith Evans

“Music is the universal language of mankind,” the poet Henry Longfellow said. Music has no barriers, and Longfellow expressed this just right.

Nearly 60% of people listen to music for an average of three to four hours a day, and out of 100 people surveyed, almost all said they like music that is catchy and makes them want to dance, according to Marcella’s Modish Music blogspot. Listeners don’t need to understand the lyrics because they aren’t the most important part of a song when it comes to dancing and feeling good.

Because of that, more are listening to songs in languages they don’t understand. One genre that is rising in popularity is Korean pop. K-pop is becoming widely notorious outside of Korea.

“Gangnam Style” by Korean musician Psy, with currently over 2.5 billion views, is one of the most popular songs in the world. Language does not matter when it comes to music, as Psy clearly showed the world.

“Papaoutai,” sung by Belgian musician Stromae garnered over 300 million views and became a viral sensation. This catchy tune played over the radio again and again and would not get out of everyone’s heads for quite a while.

The sudden surge of popularity in these songs created a whole other dimension in the musical world by introducing people to the possibilities of a global fanbase.

International artists have a growing worldwide fandom, but some people still feel as if the lyrics are more important than the melody or rhythm, which is not entirely true. Lyrics are relatable and might connect to the listeners more, but the actual structure of the song keeps the listener interested.

Listening to foreign music can also help others learn a new language. It’s more fun than learning a language the old-fashioned way or online, and could even be a more effective way of learning. Listening to a song on repeat allows a person to achieve familiarity with the language, and they will soon begin to understand the lyrics.

Music is universal, which allows anyone to listen to what they like, despite the language barrier.

Instead of being closed minded, people should open up to more genres of music, or at least be more accepting of them. Who knows, they might be better than the songs on their current playlist.

When Longfellow stated that music is universal, he clearly meant it. Music allows others to connect with people on such a high level that sometimes words can’t do enough justice.