Offensive to Women, yet Acclaimed in Society
Victor Hugo, a well known French Romantic writer, once stated “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Though this statement was made in the 19th century, it continues to stand true to this day. Through decades of evolution, music has constantly been a way for anyone to express themselves through melodies, timbre, dynamics, and lyrics. People around the world are composing, as well as listening to, all kinds of music, and this unifies nations in all countries and continents. Introduction to Literature is an anthology that consists of a variety of literary works – poems, short stories, and excerpts from novels – that discusses globalization. I believe that a chapter regarding the subject of music and its evolution should be included in the Introduction to Literature.
Music has continuously been changing ever since the first beat was tapped, the first piano was struck, the first violin was plucked, and the first horn was blown; however, in the last 150 years, the meaning of lyrics and the style of music has changed drastically. From Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Eminem, the artists and composers have altered the way music sounds on the radio, computer, and other musical devices. Every genre has artists, who have songs, which have lyrics that contain a story. Whether the story is from a memory, a dream, or an ambition, it becomes clear when it is being heard by billions of people. Music has become a basis for artists to exert their most inner emotions and thoughts into lyrics that others can relate to, live by, and act upon, as well as a means to degrade women in an approach that people don’t realize until the lyrics are sought out, the song is heard an abundance of times, or the video is seen.
This proposed chapter is about how music has become more degrading and demeaning towards women, but most importantly, how it has evolved through the decades. The reader should be able to experience how music has changed as he reads from page to page and understand that the adjustments have not necessarily been for the better.
The first piece the reader encounters will be an insightful poem by the great Harlem writer, Langston Hughes. This poem, “The Weary Blues,” is a fantastic piece to use for the poetry section of class. It evokes a gloomy tone and the tempo of a blues song; it contains strong diction and includes blues lyrics within the piece itself; and it portrays a wonderful example of imagery. This poem is also comprised of a relationship between the speaker and subject as in lines 1-3. As Hughes states “Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, / Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, / I heard a Negro play,” he connects the audience to the performer by describing their interaction of rocking back and forth. “The Weary Blues” also ties in well with this chapter because it speaks of an earlier form of music: jazz. During the jazz period, music was not about how harshly one could make his ex-wife sound to an audience, but freedom to play, listen, and dance to music. This idea of simplicity in music complements jazz music’s complexity of rhythm, syncopation of notes, and improvisation that varies by player. This poem creates a smooth transition to the next item in the chapter.
For this piece, I envision the picture, as shown above, along with a paragraph below describing Etta James’ participation and involvement with music. She is a revolutionary woman who is an inspiration to women everywhere. James is also relatable to anyone who has faced difficult challenges, as she has battled with dementia, hepatitis C, and leukemia. This Grammy-winning singer began singing in choir and premiering on the radio at age 5. At the age of 16, she ventured to Los Angeles to record “The Wallflower”, also known as “Roll with Me Henry”, change her...