Does all music need to be meaningful? What difference does it make?

Music and societal happenings have always been intertwined. Music holds the power to reflect and create social conditions — including those that advance or impede progress. Therefore, music is a powerful medium. In social groups it facilitates communication that goes beyond mere words and promotes the creation of group and national identities. In an individual it may induce any number of emotional responses.


Not all music has to be meaningful. Instrumental music is arguably meaningless; however, no one doubts the value of Western classical or American jazz music. These works are meant to be appreciated primarily for their beauty and emotional power.


Today’s popular music, which on the surface can be mistaken as meaningless, self-aggrandizing drivel, reflects the self-absorbed nature of young people. It is emotionally appealing because it feeds into feelings of self-importance and luxury, even though they may be distorted. However, even beyond its emotional appeal, today’s popular music reflects today’s society, a fact which confers it value.

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