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Songs Have Lifted The Heart And Inspired The Soul For Decades
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Songs are those delightful melodies with words to tell a story, express emotion, illustrate drama, worship or preserve cultural traditions. They are also used to express the societal and political culture of the times. There are even songs sung just to entertain. Without a doubt, songs uplift the soul and spring it into action with feelings and deep thoughts. These melodic pieces predate history, and there is really no historical documentation dating the first song. Dating back to 2,400 years ago, the "Yah Eli" is one of the oldest liturgical songs sung in Jewish temples today. It has been preserved as a Gregorian chant melody, and Bach wrote a chorale-prelude melody with a similar tune.
Gospel music is the black cultural expression with sound and feeling all of its own. It originated in the 1930s, and is one of the most influential American musical genres. Throughout the years, gospel music has reflected the struggles, hopes, fears and joys of generations of blacks. It validated the uncertainty of the 1960s and 1970s while nurturing the dramatic shifts in society during the 1940s and 1950s. Written by Thomas A. Dorsey in 1932, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" is one of the most iconic gospel songs. The words and melody uplift the soul with Dorsey's expression of bereavement over the deaths of his child and first wife. So soulful and touching, this song was even sang at Martin Luther King's funeral, and Aretha Franklin sang it at Michael Jackson's funeral.
Americans have been singing songs since the first Africans and Europeans arrived in the 16th century. Hymns, parodies, work songs and love songs provide a record of American history. Throughout the colonial, revolutionary and federal periods, American songs closely resembled music traditions of the British Isles. Even the patriotic America songs like the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Yankee Doodle" were adapted from original English songs. Still today, these legendary tunes uplift the American soul with emotions of patriotism.
Perhaps, one of the most contemporary soul invoking songs is "Imagine" written by the late John Lennon. Here's a peak at some of the song's lyrics:
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one"
With just simple words and a melody, Lennon was able to convey his hope for peace on earth. His words invoke the soul to think about the boundaries of religion and territory that often lead to conflict. The songs also awakens the spirit to realize that peace is attainable.
Songs have a place in history and the human spirit. They have been with us for many millennia and will continue for eternity. Without them, there is just one less avenue for expression of human thoughts, feelings, aspirations, dreams and hopes. They are simply the poems of life with a melody and message to share.
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