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Does Music Change Culture or Culture Change Music?

An important question is asked whether music changes the culture or the culture changes the music and is music a solid platform to try and institute change? In general, culture is the beliefs and behaviors of a particular group of individuals whereas music is an expressive language of culture. Culture influences music because music is very much controlled by the culture and by the events that are going on in the environment we find ourselves in. The relationship that music and culture share is the creation of a universal language that people of a geographical region can listen to and relate to and therefore provide a potential platform where the music changes the culture and the culture influences the music.

As music is very much malleable and is affected by several factors so these factors when put together equal the culture and therefore change can be implemented in both. Simply put, culture provides an expressive language for music and music reflects the cultural characteristics of any society so in one way or another both influence each other. Both are seen and interpreted differently as music and culture have a couple of things in common. For instance, certain culture influences music concerning the songwriting process as an artist draws his inspiration from his cultural background which drives him to write a different genre.

When the music changes over time, we find that behaviors, dress sense, hairstyle, and other luxuries of life change with it because new musicians become the example of the style so the cultural characteristics change along with it. Thus, not only does music changes the culture but also culture influences music and has a huge impact on the perception of the world as in article 1 Katlyn Kritz states “Music can teach us how to feel,” he further says “[Music] can help us navigate difficult times in our lives and open our minds to new perspectives” (Kritz, the Jambar). The more recent example of how music influences culture is TikTok which was first started as a music app and has become a cultural touch point now changing the perspectives of the hundreds of millions of people around the world. The music app TikTok explores our diverse western culture such as prayers and chants perceived differently by every listener when broadcasted into the eastern culture and therefore unify different cultures and communities.

Marilyn Manson who has a controversial image as a lead singer of his band has delved into the personal and religious details as he writes in article 2 “I have assumed the role of Antichrist; I am the Nineties voice of individuality” (Manson, 1999) on the basis of what he has built a platform to institute change through music as he extends his views “Sometimes, music, movies, and books are the only things that let us feel like someone else feels like we do” (Manson, 1999) idolizing music and the other forms of art as the significant parts of a culture. Thus, music follows what culture evolves and provides a platform to ignite and institute change within individuals. So, while answering this interesting question, it is inferred that one alone does not hold the power to change the other as both are the evolving arenas and are very diverse in their natures.

Works Cited

Kritz, Katlyn. Music’s Influence on Culture – the Jambar.

Manson, Marilyn. “Columbine: Whose Fault Is It?” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 24 June 1999,



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