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Music and Dance as a Part of Our Culture Term Paper


Music and dance were known to people for a long time. From the starting point of our civilization, first people could make rough musical instruments and dance to the sounds. At first, dance would be used in religious ceremonies and rituals, for example, to call out the rain in the dry season and in some instances, before going hunting, to bring good luck and a rich catch.

Our ancestors believed that they will please the spirits and the higher forces of nature, thus they will be sent whatever it is they needed in abundance. Only after further development of the social communities and progress of civilization, people began to use music and dance as an industry for masses that was meant to please the ear and eye; it became a part of the arts.

In our time, there is a great quantity of many different kinds of genres and dance types. Many instruments that can be used to produce very unique and distinct sounds have a very advanced technological structure, so the variation of dance greatly increased. Dance is very influential on the person and there is no other medium quite like it that can have such a significant effect on the person.

Especially ethnic dance is meant to touch the deepest parts of the human soul, the emotions and can raise the mood and make it light or depress it and have a negative influence on the psyche of a person. Our family has a unique connection to the dance and music, and how it was used in the family and in social settings.

The dancing that was imagined and acted out would be aligned to people’s emotional state, life and circumstances of everyday worries and happiness. An interesting fact that has been a part of family is that it was a connection to the higher power and the spirit world because it is very original and limited in existence.

Comparing to other types of art which can be made and put on a wall or stored in a museum, the dance only exists while it is made. The modern technology has made it possible to record and store images but our family has had a very different view that has not changed with time. It is believed that in order for dancing to be fully understandable and felt, it must be played live.

This is the reason why we never record dancing and try to add variations to it every time, so that there is a unique mood and output of feelings. Very far back in the history of our family, the dance was used by shamans and has been very influential on the mind and soul of people. Sometimes, dancing would be instrumental to put people into a trance or a hypnotic state.

It is unfortunate that the majority of society forgot how to be a part of dance in such a way that it touches the inner being of an individual. The oldest musical instrument that has been in our family is the flute and the dancing associated with the sounds it made. It goes back to five or six generations of relatives but in reality the traditional Chinese dance and flute dates back to ancient times because it was very easy to make and dance to it.

The simple structure and making technique of the flute have proven to be extremely effective in creating easy listening and calming down sounds. It is a sort of long tube with a blowing hole and several holes on top that can be closed with fingers. Our particular flute is made from a rough looking wood and was not altered in any way, as it has been a part of family history.

Originally, it was used by shepherds and other herdsmen. We believe that it was made by one of the shepherds in our family. While the sheep would be going around looking for the grass that is needed for their proper nutrition, the person would play the flute and dance, to pass time and uplift the spirit.

It is believed that it started even further in the past when people would use flute sounds to create a certain atmosphere for the sheep and the whole process of being out in the nature and connecting with the environment. This made them healthier and brought luck to people and animals in their prosperity and success. It was usually made from a young plant; it would be cut off and measured by the length of the arm of a person.

If it was a young child or a man, the length would be different and this signified the connection between the musical instrument and the person. The shorter flute would create a distinct sound attributable to youth and beginnings, whereas the longer one, of an older man, would be linked with wisdom and long life full of health. Also, the holes would be made in such a way that fit the person who played, so each flute was very unique.

It is known that our ancestors would dance to the flute in social settings as well. During family gatherings or community holidays, people would gather at home or in someone’s garden, eat food, drink wine and dance. The person who played the instrument and danced made the process enchanting and original each time.

As there were no TVs, radios or any other technology that is present today, dancing and making music was a very common thing and people would be extremely good at it. The process was considered a special one, as it greatly differed from all other things that people did. Work was needed to feed the family; church was for religious purposes, and communal gatherings to decide on some matter, so all were related to the routine and everyday life.

But dancing to the naturally made music or making a new composition was the way people would communicate with their hearts and souls. There was never a negative or depressive mood around, when people played instruments, sang and danced.

It was always associated with all the goodness that people have in them and the life seemed and became simpler and better adjusted to the circumstances of existence. The following is a chart that outlines the use of dancing to the flute and some other musical instruments, as well as the purposes when they were used.

Musical instrument Person who played Reason/occasion Amount of people Types of people
Dancing to the flute Member of a family

Village/town musician

Professional dancer/ musician

Family gathering

Personal holiday

Birthday

child birth

Single family or with guests Close circle of relatives, sometimes friends
Dancing to the drums Village medicine man or member of family Religious occasions and rituals Majority of village/town People of all kinds, mostly religious and those who believed
Dancing to many instruments together A group or a gathering from different families Wedding

Public holiday

A large gathering, sometimes from close-by villages and towns Dance/musical professionals who have danced often and for a long time

One of the specific stories that is told by the parents is about their great grandparents when they have just arrived into a new village because their previous one was destroyed by drought and heavy winds. As they were the newcomers, it was hard to adjust to life and people. Our great grandfather was a master at dancing and playing the flute and used it to their advantage.

Every morning people would come out to the bazaar and bring whatever they had from their livestock or plants—milk, eggs, vegetables or fruits. To get acquainted with people and let them know that they were good people, he would come out every morning and go to the bazaar to dance and play the flute. His particular style was very unique because he would not just start out playing dancing to any melody and continue all the time.

He would observe people and adjust to the situation and settings with the dance moves and sounds of the flute. If someone was sad he would dance and play a cheerful melody, if people had completed a trade or bargain, he would do a different dance and melody. He often made people laugh because he was a great observer and could comprehend what people needed.

Through stories such as this, dancing to the flute has become a part of the family and the legacy that has been passed down through generations. It has become a relic and it is important that every member can dance and play at least one melody, as respect to our ancestors.

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IvyPanda. (2019, July 8). Music and Dance as a Part of Our Culture. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/music-and-dance-as-a-part-of-our-culture/

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"Music and Dance as a Part of Our Culture." IvyPanda, 8 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/music-and-dance-as-a-part-of-our-culture/.

1. IvyPanda. "Music and Dance as a Part of Our Culture." July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/music-and-dance-as-a-part-of-our-culture/.


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IvyPanda. "Music and Dance as a Part of Our Culture." July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/music-and-dance-as-a-part-of-our-culture/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Music and Dance as a Part of Our Culture." July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/music-and-dance-as-a-part-of-our-culture/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'Music and Dance as a Part of Our Culture'. 8 July.

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