Music As Social Life By Thomas Turino Essay

Decent Essays
Music, for many cultures, is held at a high prestige. It has been used since the beginning of time to elicit power, emotion, spiritual forces, and a sense of community among its listeners. It has helped us, as music enthusiasts, to understand the role that music plays within our own lives in today’s society, as well as how it has functioned in the lives of those before us. So why is this? What makes music, instead of other forces, so influential to our kind? In Thomas Turino’s book Music as Social Life, he argues that, “Musical participation and experience are valuable for the processes of personal and social integration that make us whole” (Turino, 2008). Many believe that music offers us a source of identity, which in turn develops our idea of self and allows us to fit inside certain communities throughout our lives. Turino also describes a theory proposed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that offers additional incites to this idea of “psychic wholeness”. This theory introduces the theme of flow and how heightened concentration can produce an optimal experience when associated with music. This paper will address these concepts stated above in association with the African American spiritual. The spiritual will be traced back to its origin in West Africa, described how it evolved as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, and the influence that it has on today’s genres like blues and gospel. I propose that, these notions of flow and identity within the music of
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