A Self-Identified Group Sharing Language And History In Common Music As an Expression of Identity

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Music As an Expression of Identity

Since ancient times, music has been used as an expression of cultural identity. Ancient tribal societies used music as the foundation of gatherings and expressions of their history, ethnicity, and cultural beliefs. Music has changed over the centuries, but the use of music as an important part of cultural and personal expression has changed little.

It is often difficult to recognize the integral relationship of music to identity, especially in today’s society where music is not considered as message-oriented as it once was. There was a time when entire generations or cultures of individual people each knew the same songs. During World War II, entire nations sang songs that expressed their national identity through their cause and connection to their fighting forces. Again, with the protest songs of the 1960s and 1970s, he explored the public’s feelings about war, youth and racial unrest. As music grew as a form of expression, different individuals within the same society began to recognize different forms of music as their own individual expressions.

Although the music is not as overtly descriptive as the songs of decades past, the music speaks to the individual as one speaks through music. A nation of parents sat bewildered as their children were mesmerized by the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll, and now there are many genres of music to be identified as generational clicks to match the musical message. Young people dressing like Britney Spears and Eminem and using the language expressed in the song still confuse parents. The addition of music videos has also added a note to self-expression through music that didn’t exist until the last few years. Unlike past generations, today’s youth can see how music is expressed and visually identify with their chosen genre. Television and the Internet have also allowed international nations to share their cultures through music.

Whether looking at music as an influence on youth or being influenced by it by youth is still secondary because it has always existed as a socializing factor. Whether this socialization occurs as part of group membership or as a way of expressing individuality, the fact that music’s influence and expression expands as the world community increasingly shares its musical styles cannot be overlooked. People may find that music speaks to them in a certain way, moves them in a certain way, or identifies with its message. People may find that they can use music to both express themselves as individuals and fit into a group. Undoubtedly, as people continue to be exposed to various forms of music and culture, music and its relationship to individual and group identity will take on new forms.

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