February 23, 2024
Language and Music

Language and music are essential for humans. Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions, and desires using voluntarily produced symbols. Language is a complex structure represented in the minds of its speakers. Yes, language is an organization of human vocal speech sounds into a systematized arbitrary set of symbols used for human communication in society.

Music as an Aspect of Language

Music is an aspect of language. To me, I defined it as a vocalized way of expressing one’s compiled feelings using instruments. No Language, no music. But music has no distinctive language. I observed this and I believed this. Music is music; it has no language, but language is used to produce music. What do I mean?

There is this Rwandan song making waves now by King Monada. Your friends on WhatsApp might have shared the videos on their statuses where people hear the music and fall sideways, forwards, or backward. This dance has replaced the one-corner dance.

I spent days researching the song now. I love the music, not the beats, but what the singer is saying. I don’t understand the Rwandan Language used for the song but the linguistic features lying on the song feed my soul with joy.

Have you asked yourself why Oliver De Coque, Chief Osita Ọsadebe, Sir Warrior, etc were able to use Igbo music to travel around the world, and the white men despite the fact they couldn’t understand Igbo danced to the tunes? Do you think they appreciated just the instrument? No…the language. Musical instruments go with the rhythm of language.

Fela Kuti with his pidgin English has gone around the world and passed his message to those finding it difficult to understand pidgin English.

Diamond of Tanzania cannot sing or featured anyone without his Tanzanian Language which makes his songs sweet and interesting. The same way with South African musicians.

Sunny Ade singing in Yoruba and Ọlamide, Dagrin, Small Doctor, etc rapping in Yoruba ignite in people the spirit of appreciating music even when they do not understand Yoruba.

Phyno Fino, Nigger Raw, MC Loph, Slow Dog, Waga G, Flavour, Psquare, etc when they sing using the Igbo Language, the world hear them and feel entertained even when they do not understand the Igbo Language.

Music and Language go hand in hand. In the world of music, there is no tribalism or ethnocentrism. Music brings all about linguistic peace and unity. Yoruba play Phyno’s songs; the Igbo play Ọlamide’s songs even where there is no mutual intelligibility.

Music is a language and food for the soul. It wets the heart and fertilizes it to grow with an appreciation of the work of art. Music has no barrier. It’s a vehicle that conveys people’s culture and history to the wider world without any political or nepotistic hindrance.

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