Some people say that music is a good way of bringing people of different cultures and ages together.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
(Cambridge IELTS Book 14 Test 3 (Academic)
I found this quite a difficult essay to write. It’s not a topic I’ve ever thought much about, so I had to give it quite a lot of thought.
Part of the problem is the phrase “bringing people…together”. What does this mean? It doesn’t just mean bringing people together physically, such as at a music festival. I think it also means uniting people in the sense of music being a common language.
My Essay Plan
My Overall Opinion: broadly agree it can united people, but can separate young generation
- music a universal language – melody engages our emotions regardless of where we are from
- some music cuts across cultural and generational divides: classical, Abba, Beatles
- large music festivals attended by mix of people
But younger generation:
- hip hop, punk, rock ‘n’ roll aimed at younger generation
Almost everyone seems to like music of some sort and perhaps listening to music satisfies a basic human need. Some people go further, arguing that music can actually bridge cultural and generational divides, and I broadly agree with this.
Music is rightly seen as a universal language, that regardless of the language of the lyrics, the underlying melody triggers the same emotional reaction in listeners, whatever their background. The distinctive sound of a love song, for example, or a lullaby will instantly be recognised regardless of the words being sung or the culture in which it came.
Moreover, some music enjoys almost universal appeal. Classical music is a good example of this. The work of composers as diverse as Mozart, Shostakovich and Gershwin is popular the world over, and to these instrumental compositions you could also add the music of famous popular music acts such as Abba and The Beatles.
Large music festivals are also able to bring people of different backgrounds and ages together. The famous summer festival at Glastonbury in the U.K. always has a wide variety of acts, encouraging a remarkably diverse audience in terms of age and ethnicity. Therefore it is clear that such events help bring people closer together.
However, there is one important caveat. Certain types of music seem almost designed to appeal to only the younger generation. Genres like hip-hop, punk and rock ‘n’ roll have each been embraced by teenagers at different times over the last seventy years, almost as a rebellion against their parent’s generation. So to some extent, it could be argued that some music can actually widen generational divides.
On the whole, however, music is certainly a force for unity. People the world over share music as a language and have tastes that transcend their differences, and thus I would agree that music can bring people closer together.