My world in six songs: Part four, knowledge.
Part four of a six-part series inspired by Daniel Levitin’s book "The World In Six Songs", which describes his theory that music is core to being human, and how six types of songs enabled the social bonding necessary for human culture and society to evolve. These song-types are: friendship, joy, comfort, religion, knowledge, and love. See part one here.
When Daniel Levitin writes of knowledge songs he means exactly what you think he does: songs that contain knowledge. He cites how studies have proven the brain’s capacious power to remember vast written passages when these passages are set to music. In the old, old days, before we had the bright idea of writing, most knowledge it seems was passed down through song. And despite what might think (the game telephone comes to mind and how even one sentence can get mangled by caller six) song was a very accurate way to capture and pass on knowledge. I, of course, grew up armed with pencils, pens, paper and now computers, so the thought of having to remember much of anything puts the fear of god in me. Can’t do it. Even songs don’t help much; I mean, I can’t even remember my own lyrics! So given my generation and my own memory deficiencies, which songs have played a role in helping me to know stuff?
The Alphabet Song, by who the hell knows, because to this day it helps me remember the alphabet.
Jingles, by various ad agencies, because even now, decades on, I remember “two all beef patties”, “have it your way” and “plop, plop, fix, fizz.
Ohio, by Neil Young, because it chronicles how many college students were shot and killed by the US government as they protested shooting and killing.
If You Fall In Love, by Steve Earle, because it tells people exactly what's going to happen if they fall in love.
Pop & Rock Songs in General, by mankind, because this is one of the primary ways with share with others what we have learned.
Next up, religion (Christ!).