The Gift of Music
CAN you imagine life without music? No soothing lullabies. No romantic serenades. No lively pop songs. No stirring symphonies. And no inspirational melodies. Most would consider that a dull and unappealing prospect.
Yes, music appeals to virtually the full range of human emotions. It soothes and excites us, uplifts and inspires us. It moves us to ecstasy and reduces us to tears. Moreover, because music speaks straight to our heart, it has power. Why are we so moved by music? The answer is really quite simple: Music is a beautiful gift from God. (James 1:17) As such, it should be treasured, it should be wholesome, and it should be available to all—young and old.
Music has a very long history. For example, archaeological evidence indicates that centuries before our Common Era, African tribes played drums, horns, and bells. The ancient Chinese played a form of mouth organ and panpipes. The peoples of Egypt, India, Israel, and Mesopotamia played the harp. Perhaps one of the most specific historical references to music is that found in the Bible at Genesis 4:21. There we learn that a man named Jubal was “the founder of all those who handle the harp and the pipe.” Many centuries later, Israel’s King Solomon had a great interest in music and obtained the very best wood available for the making of harps and other stringed instruments.—1 Kings 10:11, 12.
Of course, to enjoy instrumental music in those days, you had to play an instrument or listen to someone who could. Nowadays, though, music is available to millions at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse. Indeed, all forms of it can be recorded or downloaded and played on devices that can be slipped into your pocket. A 2009 survey in one Western land found that 8- to 18-year-olds spend more than two hours a day listening to music and other audio recordings.
This trend, which is not uncommon, helps explain why music and the related technologies have become major commercial products. Indeed, music is big business. But have you wondered what it takes to make a hit?
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DOWNLOADING: Users usually pay for each file they download, which then becomes their property. Others obtain subscriptions—often along with cell-phone contracts or other purchases—that allow music files to be downloaded and played only during the contract period.
STREAMING: Digital music that listeners play immediately without storing the files. Much streamed music is free of charge, although some specialized content is available by subscription.
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Highlights of Recording Media
Compact cassette tape
Compact disc (CD)
Digital audio files (MP3, AAC, WAV, etc.)