Local and Global Music – How Popular Music Has Transcended All Human Identities

The development and spread of music around the world is a contemporary phenomenon that still baffles researchers to date. Globalization has been a significant factor in the range and perpetuation of music as the interaction between people from different cultures led to the spread of new ideas. Local music refers to music that is developed commonly, remains unchanged from its time of production, is popular and most played in a particular region. It is mainly recited by individuals who are mostly anonymous and present a local sound specific to where they hail from. Turkey serves as the best example of an authentic music scene as music from this country is the production of a sedentary culture that is traditional. Titles such as folk music are often used to describe this unique sound that is known for giving various areas their popularity. Global music, on the other hand, is a genre of music that encapsulates an assortment of styles from around the world. It is a hodgepodge of both western and folk music that is then punctuated with the inclusion of ethnic or neo-traditional music from a particular area. It is known for its general disposition that allows for malleability in the application of many different styles to create a new music category. It has been a quagmire for an extended period due to the difficulty in definition due to its exotic nature that is as a result of different of the intermingling of different cultures (Broughton, Ellingham, & Trillo, 1999, p. 67). The creation of popular music has also led to a new social phenomenon where it has been able to cross social bounds and reach individuals from different races, gender, nationalities, class, and ethnicity. In this essay, I will provide the main distinctions that exist between while giving an insight into how popular music has transcended all human identities.

Folk music was initially passed down from one generation to the next in various societies that exist around the world. Members of these communities made use of oral tradition as the primary means in which they would pass the button of a unique culture. It was music that originated from a particular people and those who performed it was interested in fame or fortune. A single individual would sing a melody to members of their community and those who heard it was free to change or add more verses. They would tell stories that were crucial to the community’s history and did not have specific words that described the tunes. It has more to do with how the music was passed down through the generations than it has to do with the area it came from (Frith, 1991, p. 45). It is especially for Native American, American, Irish or Russian folk music which is all put under the same banner but having nothing in common.  Original folk music left out the commercial bit as it mostly concerned with celebrating the culture of a people and what they had to offer. The discovery of new locations by Westerners meant that they were would now come into contact with individuals with new differing lifestyles and music. It was the original systems of communication that were responsible for breaking this type of music from their isolation and bringing it to a global audience. Individuals who met exotic folk musicians were also exposed to new musical ideas that they were glad to that led acculturation and assimilation. Mass media also played a huge role in the creation of world music as it served as a conduit through which this music would be transmitted to all the people of around the world satellite transmissions would ensure that people around the world had access to this new material.

Mass media, and in particular the invention of the cassette tape in 1966 by Phillips, would mark the beginning of a new era in music where music from around the world could be recorded for posterity purposes. An anthropologist would organize fieldworks of an ethno-musicological nature and mark the music they heard from native people all around the world. Battery powered brought a revolution in the creation of a world music identity as it was a relatively low-cost device that would allow the individuals in question to capture the music that they were after and introduced it to a Western audience. It was through this process that favorite music was born and soon became an international phenomenon. It was these influences that went ahead to shape favorite music and aimed at bringing people together using music. A modern example is the street music played in Cluj Napoca, Romania as it is a postmodern example of the influence that world music has had on societies all around the world (Bohlman, 2002, p. 132). As a center of trade, merchants would pass through the city from different locations in Asia would be accompanied by musicians who were integral in spreading music in that locality. Nonetheless, world music was responsible for the sharing of cultures across among people from different genders, race, nationalities, and ethnicities who were interested in learning this language of music in its entirety. Human migrations also played a huge role in the perpetuation of world music across the globe as different communities would end up in a particular locality and share their musical practices and traditions. Popular music has been a considerable influence on social cohesion as new cultural identities are born in a modern context, with all those who find themselves in these areas embracing each other through the power of music and globalization (Manuel, 2013). A cultural and artistic recalibration would take place where new identities would be created as a means of communicating a new musical language to the community at large.

“Local” and “global” music are distinct in their composition as the former is a purer version that birthed modern world music.  Early excursions into the frontiers of the world revealed music that was bound to intrigue the travelers as they were interested in learning more about these new sounds that they were alien to. It is these developments in history that were responsible for the creation of a new type of music that was built on various influences that spanned the globe. Popular music soon came into being after and introduced music that was capable of transcending some social boundaries that had been in existence for quite a long time.  Music became a unifying factor that did not acknowledge the ethnicity, religion, class or nationality of an individual but the love that they all had for the art. World music became integral in forging new identities for individuals from diverse backgrounds who found themselves in the same environment but brought together by their love for music. We presently live in a world that is interconnected which also allows us to listen to more music from diverse backgrounds. Even with the increase in diversity across the globe, we are now able to create a society where the music consumed is from different backgrounds and only serves to bring people together. Presently, students are beneficiaries of the development that has taken place in music as the variety that makes world music allows them to search for its base and origin thus increasing demand for this material.

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