CHRISTMAS is not Christmas without the carols, the jingles, the Yuletide music. A party is also not a party without the music. Even a mall is a strange one without music. And in our noisy, never-asleep urban landscape, city lights must flash with music that comes with in-your-face advertising.
Cross Orchard Road at the Knightsbridge and Mandarin Gallery junction, and you’d likely be bombarded with the ear-splitting, rat-tat-tat of Samsung’s latest advertisement that’s all percussion and no perceptible melodic line. Here, you wished the world were without music, but elsewhere music is a must. Imagine if every single tune, every song, every ad jingle were stripped away, the world would indeed be a strange, cold, surreal place, filled with just the chatter of people, the honking of cars, and their mad whizzing down the road. Then, there’s also the buzzing of cellphones. Hang on, the buzzing? Aren’t these melodies too?
This is just a testimony to how we all cleave to music. Music, like stories, are part of human kind. I travel back to my childhood and the memories of those song-filled games return. There’s that goofy Tarzan sit-in-a-group game (“Tarzan, the monkey man / Sitting on the rubber band, / Pop goes the rubber band, /what color is his underwear?”) and the classic Teddy Bear skip-a-rope game (“Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around! / Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground!”)
From baptism to marriages to funerals, all these life events are marked by music. Is it a question about the world being a dull place without music? It’s more than that. Music sings to the celebratory nature in us. We eat, sleep and breathe music. It’s the reason folk songs and ancient chants have colored history. It’s the reason people are bound together in purpose and harmony. Think of the anthems of countries, of how Majulah Singapura rouses the patriotism in our hearts, particularly on National Day.
More than anything else, think of what life would be like without Mozart, Madonna, Michael Jackson. It would be like the world without Apple, or chocolate, or salt and sugar. No, it wouldn’t be just boring; it would be inconceivable; it would be utter madness.
Take away my Mitch Grassi, my Kirstie Maldonado, my Avi Kaplan, my Scott Hoying, my Kevin Olusola, all the geniuses that make up Pentatonix; take away my soothing-voiced Ed Sheeran, my Michael Bublé, I would not just scream, I would die.
So don’t tell me that the world would be a boring place without music. It can’t possibly be a livable place if music never existed.
Lim Zhi Yi, Secondary Two
For more essays by Zhi Yi, visit Zhi Yi Writes.
This essay was written in response to the ‘O’ Levels 2015 exam, Question #2:
The world would be a very dull place without music. What are your views?