Еssay on Violence and Music

As a matter of fact I would like to start with a pearl of wisdom of an Irish vocalist Paul David Hewson: “Music can change the world because it can change people”. Although one may choose the genre he prefers, one should sill be sense guided and dig deep to evaluate musical works properly and the way they influence as objectively as possible. It goes without saying that, on the one hand, music is one of the most inspirational forms of art, harmony transmits ever-lasting feelings. It can penetrate into the soul and manipulate, inspire a person, encourage him, etc. But on the other hand, it can bring an individual in disaccord with the rest of the world, some kinds of music are considered to be destructive, especially of an unshaped personality, and may be used as a cruel weapon of manipulation causing violence in society. Life has become more violent and more dangerous, though we cannot blame music for all the evil of society; still it is hard to deny its considerable influence. Modern families are more and more exposed to violence because of media, and music in particular (Anderson).

The influence on teenagers is especially evident, as they have always been attracted by music. In 1990s the first surveys were made proving that there is a certain interconnection between violent and deviant behavior and definite music genres such as death metal, heavy metal, rock, rap, gansta rap, hardcore, hip-hop, alternative music and various sub-divisions of psychedelic music. In most lyrics, rap and heavy metal especially, there are references to violence, drugs, crime, etc. The enumerated music genres have destructive themes, such as encouraging and glorifying suicide as a so called solution, advocating drug and alcohol abuse, graphic violence, sadism, incest, violence towards women and other negative topics (Anderson). Studies have already found that heavy metal and rap shape slighting and even violent attitude towards women, it consequently intensifies men’s acceptance of rape myth. It is amazing that music influences even plants, let alone people. The Americans conducted a research which found out that peaceful music assisted in plant growth while violent genres of it made them wither.

Rock music, for instance, has evil power and one may receive evidence from true to life situations. A riot which resulted in sixty injured, occurred after the concert of “Gun N’ Roses” in the year 1991. It grew into a furious mob which could be stopped only by police. A sportsmen and a talented student from State New Jersey listened to “hard metal” all the time, a youth stabbed his mother, set fire and killed his brother and father, acting under the influence of music.

Different forms of violence are appreciated in rock music. Dead Kennedy, for instance, sang: “I kill children, I love to see them die. I kill children to make their mother cry”. The band Slayer had such lyrics: “No apparent motive. Just kill and kill again. Survive my brutal slashing. I will hunt you till the end”. Richard Ramirez confessed that music became a constituent part of his motive to kill thirty people; he mentioned his favorite song “Night Prowler” which gave him “encouragement”. More than half heavy metal songs tell about killings, thirty pre cent of Satanism and about ten glorify suicide. As many rock musicians died from alcoholism or drug abuse, it is supposed that aggressive behavior of people is predetermined by the violent content of contemporary music compositions. To cope with harmful music effects, a number of behavior modifications were worked out, the issue remaining still unsolved.

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