July 10, 2014
“Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Andersen
It’s no surprise that music plays an incredibly important role in human culture today, but did you know that music has been in existence for an estimated 50,000 years?!
Spanning every known culture around the globe, the art of music has had the power to move people (literally and figuratively) throughout history. The word music is derived from the Greek term mousikê (tekhnê) (“the art of muses”), and ultimately derived from mousa, the Greek word for muse.
Although music was an important part of ancient Greek life, and philosophers such as Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus had many theoretical speculations about its importance and function, it was the Chinese philosopher Confucius who believed that, “Music [he thought] reveals character…great music is in harmony with the universe, restoring order to the physical world through that harmony.”
Music had been used in many forms and for many significant historical events throughout time.
For example, one of the most influential aspects of Danish music has been the Danish monarchy. In 1448, Christian I had a permanent corps of trumpeters for his coronation, and by 1519 the court had a corps of court singers as well as an instrumental ensemble. Music for the theatre was established in Denmark during the reigns of Frederik III (1648-1670) and Christian V (1670-1699) when lavish court ballets were performed.
With the 20th century brought a new freedom and wide experimentation with musical styles and forms that challenged the accepted rules of music of earlier periods. The invention of radio in the late 1800s and new technology and musical inventions throughout the 20th century further revolutionized and accelerated the development of even new forms of music.
From gospel and blues to opera, Chicago has become a hub for all types of music over the past century. Today Chicago holds many music festivals, which draw millions of people to the city to celebrate all genres of music.
In kind, Denmark also has deep musical traditions. Spillemandsmusik (“folk music”) and folk dancing are important parts of Danish tradition and customs that have been used to preserve the culture of its people for centuries (watch here). In this article from The World’s Fair Yearbook (date unknown) it was so eloquently stated that,
“In writing about folk dances, there is no particular system or group of dances that is more outstanding than others, because a nation’s folk dances represents its culture, and has become a means of expressing the inner feelings of that people. These old folk dances show typical temperaments of the various nations. The Danish folk dances differ from most others in their soft and carefree movements and are symbolical of Denmark, its people and nature.”
In addition, in this editorial piece from the Scandia publication, dated December 1908, the author discusses the importance of Scandinavian music:
“We Scandinavians love our songs of the home land–songs that breathe memories of the past, of childhood, of mother love. We have heard our Scandinavian Singing Societies sing these songs, and we have been carried home to the shores of childhood.”
Today, Denmark is known as a music hub in her own right, and Danes host many popular music festivals throughout the year where many folk music influences can still be heard in today’s popular music.
The most wonderful aspect about music is that it is a shared experience with individual perspective. Around the world and in every culture, music, in all forms and genres, has the ability to make us laugh and cry, to inspire and excite. It evokes emotions and memories and is often times the bookmark to our most significant life events. Music is also simply a wonderful pastime spent among friends, loved ones, and even strangers.
Speaking of, tonight The Danish Home of Chicago will be hosting a wonderful evening orchestra party. The Outskirts will be visiting to perform a private concert for residents and friends. This is an all-female 17-piece jazz ensemble comprised of supremely talented women from the Chicago area who have been performing together since 2003 (hear them here). It will be a wonderful summer evening, surrounded by great company and enchanted by wonderful music!
Be sure to visit our newest Pinterest board an all things music!