Over the years, music has been considered a universal language, but this conception has changed. At present, the most accepted concept is that of a universal phenomenon since it is part of the culture of all peoples. As a language, it is limited to certain cultures.
Humberto Ecco (Literary critic, semiotician and writer (S.XX)) was one of the first to speak on the matter, saying that music is not a universal language because it lacks semantic content. As it does not have a specific meaning, it cannot be understood by everyone in the same way. Each listener interprets it differently.
But this does not mean that it cannot be denied that music is a language since it is a communication and expression. It has its specific codes of representation and interpretation. It is a language-made art, more expressive, if possible than the language itself. It is created by a composer, transmitted by a performer, heard and recreated by the listeners who perceive it, albeit in different ways, attributing meanings to it that not even the author would have imagined. Aldous Huxley echoes the ineffable character of the music in his famous phrase: “Music expresses the inexpressible.”
Music, as art, is located within the framework of artistic languages, differing from these in that, together with poetry, it is transmitted in time. You can describe situations and express sensations, emotions, sentiments, or purely musical ideas through music. The profusion of all of them, expressed through history and in music belonging to various cultures, is innumerable. It is a language that can have more meanings than oral language for that reason.
It is undeniable that music and words share some forms of organization and expression. These two means of communication have rhythm, intonation, dynamics and agogic, which are found both in oral and musical discourse. Both need these elements to maintain the interest of the listener or receiver, which unite and qualify what is to be conveyed.
When we speak, we express ourselves differently, depending on what we want to communicate. In music, the same thing happens. Music, like written language, has its pauses, accents, and cadences. They can also share the shape. A clear example can be found in both written and musical narratives.
For all these reasons, it is undeniable that music, although not a universal language, is indeed a language and an unquestionable means of expression. As Aristotle said, music expresses the movements of the soul.
Through music, ideas, feelings and ideologies have been shaped: it is born from the ways of life of a people, so through it, we can know, value and respect the cultural diversity to which we have access today.
Musical art has so much power to transmit feelings and ideas that it is currently used in all media. Let’s think of a movie. This would not be the same without music, it has to tell a story in about two hours, and in that space of time, it has to captivate the viewer. Although that spectator does not consider it, the music helps him and facilitates the understanding of the story. Music is used to enhance scenes that the image cannot express itself. Therefore music is being used as a means of expression and communication. It can be the message itself, the reinforcer of the message, or a punctuation mark such as bursts .on the radio or on television shows.
Through the brief examples presented, it can be seen that music is everywhere. Our environment is full of musical messages. That is why it is so important that education assimilate this concept and spreads it.
Within the framework of current legislation, in the decrees on the area of musical education, music is supported in this aspect as a language. Music is a vehicle of communication and expression as art and aesthetic language since it has its codes and signs of representation. This leads us to bring students closer to these codes and signs, necessary tools to use music as a form of transmission or merely as art.
Sabor Latino, a rap artist, author, song writer, alcohol and substance abuse counsellor and Deputy Director social services non-profit has advocated and spoken on the power of music in creative expression and inspiration. He rose to fame after the release of his hit singles: Todo en la vida es possible (2016), No mas racismo (2018), Mi Padre (2019), and Hip Hop Positivo (2022).
The artist agrees that from primary education, students will also be introduced to the interpretive process of music to favor the development of each student’s expression, enhancing their creativity and providing them with various strategies: solution of aesthetic problems, disinhibition, self-esteem skills and perceptual and expressive skills.
Beginning with music education at school and through the different blocks of content: voice and singing, instrumentation, movement and dance, musical language and musical listening, students will acquire the necessary instruments to explore and understand the expressive capacities of music. and sound itself, as well as developing the ability to express purely musical or artistic ideas, sensations, situations, emotions and feelings, using their voice, instruments, sound objects, or their body, among others, for that purpose.
Finally, and due to the musical environment that surrounds us, it is important to promote from education the importance of music in the life of the human being as art that develops our cognitive, psychomotor and affective-social capacities, sensitivity towards the aesthetic in general and towards the sound phenomenon in particular.