“There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we’d all love one another” Frank Zappa

I am crediting Greg Moore, composer & arranger for many of his insights:

Is it possible that music can be the way to achieve world peace?

One might suppose that music, which communicates emotion powerfully, could be a powerful “tranquilizer” to our personal emotions. Certainly there have been songs that have calmed our warlike emotions, and upon hearing them we wanted to be “better people”; but there have been friends and speakers and books and prayer that accomplish the same thing through ordinary words.

I think the underlying forces that set human against human are more powerful than music alone. To have world peace, you need peacemakers; and becoming a peacemaker (above being a normal “nice person”) requires radical change of heart and mind.

Plato wanted to regulate music in his Republic to achieve a peaceful state of public mind. He would have outlawed songs in what we call the “major” keys (causes mania) and the darker minor keys (depression and anxiety), to achieve a sort of stasis in the emotional temper of society. This never happened; but what does happen when Napoleon is thumping his chest across the channel? The protective emotions flare anyway, and you dust off the patriotic songs.

Songs are also part of one’s ethnicity. People tend to organize themselves into clans, gangs, regions and nations – each develops a musical style, which can often be reprehensible to outsiders. People develop STRONG opinions about style. There is something out today called “world music” — a blending of all sorts of international styles. You get the same thing you get when you blend chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry: a mucky pinkish-brown pudding that has no real flavor at all. To achieve unity of musical style you have to deprive someone of their local style. How are you going to do that? Do we Want to do that? Remove from the world the waltz, the polka, the hora, the tango, the rhumba, the samba, the rap, the yodel, the throat-song, the thousand Oriental styles I cannot name, the Maori chant — what do you have? Whatever the “ruling committee” says is all right to achieve world peace.

Good music, though, helps achieve individual and personal peace – it helps very much – and in that I would agree with the fundamental idea that it can contribute to world peace, but it is only small part of the puzzle.

I was Kitaro’s tour manager back in the day. You could only find his music under the heading “world music” or “new age”. To classify it as new age, really missed the mark and certainly was not the artist’s intent.

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