How Music Can Bridge Cultures

Dacher Keltner There’s this interesting cultural specificity to music that, you know, there are studies that show that depending on your culture, you hear certain instruments or certain rhythms and it speaks to you as a member of a specific subculture. And so, how do you think about that, that the varieties of music around the world also tell us who we are as a specific subculture?

And that, then, informs how the sound start to come out, because then that becomes a desirable sound because that’s how you identify it. It’s telling me something about their land. It’s telling me something about the culture, the country, the ground that they live in. It gives birth to this type of sonic, you know, maybe this is a type of sonic that you hear naturally in that. So, I can feel whether it’s somewhere where there’s ice, I can feel whether it’s somewhere where there’s rainforest. You can hear that in the choice of a texture that you might hear. Because I feel like I can observe something about them without actually understanding much about the music or the traditions that they’ve done. I don’t know anything. It’s totally new to me. but it tells me something about them. It tells me something about their culture and about the way they interact with one another.

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