Music: Nineteenth century music


Photo courtesy of Evgeny Ostroushko

I am about to put the boom in boomer because we are about to boom straight to the past. This past being the ‘70s and ‘90s — a high point in music as most people would say, though for the point I speak of, we have to go farther back than most think. While all the worship to the ‘70s and ‘90s eras are well-deserved, perhaps we need to go further back, straight back to the 19th century for great music. The 19th century was a glorious time where tuberculosis was a fashion statement, a time before all this “lyrics business” and where music was purely the sounds of instruments. Simply put, it was magical. There are no lyrics in these old classics or substance in metaphorical lines. However, contrary to popular belief these are not flaws.

Lyrics are overrated when addressing these classics. The lack of lyricism makes 19th century music inspire emotion based solely on sound. In its essence it is an impactful and auditory form of emotion used to invoke emotion.  Old music and their lyric-lacking tunes clearly express and invoke a specific feeling in the audience. The sound of grandeur from the notes of Messiah gives off a “larger-than-life” feel. In the Hall of the Mountain King gives the general feeling of a never-ending cycle of screw ups and failures. It’s sole emotional sounds, void of words, express their unique charm. 

Of course, to bring something up one must put another down; to explain another of the merits of olden notes one must drag modern beats through the mud. The classical songs of yesteryear’s yesteryear have a distinct lack of lyrics which many call out as negative. Olden notes do not have any serious metaphors to demonstrate leaving their existence simple: to call upon the listeners’ emotions. The sense of a battlefield from Overture 1812 and feelings of majestic mystery from Toreador March. The pure emotions in these notes heavily contrast the metaphorical beats of the common age in a good way. Their notes convey an emotion through music, be it the tension of battle or dazzling majesty displaying the simple focus of these emotions.

The lack of lyrics, metaphors and modern techniques does not detract from the greatness of the old music but emphasizes its strengths. The lack of complicated traits leaves nothing but the soul of a song. These oldies portray emotions in ways these young songs cannot. Passing certain feelings instead of ideas is a fantastic concept, proving they are top tier songs compared to many other newer sounds.