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  • Writer's pictureSarah Guyud Razonable

Social functions of music

Music is an impactful and decisive element in the social issues of our society.

Several times in history, music has been able to give courage to those who were struggling and suffering, to express loudly the thoughts of those who had no choice but to remain silent... But above all, music has been able to understand human beings throughout history.

Together, let’s discover 3 interesting social functions of music :

Individual function

Music can enable a single individual to create a multitude of things!

Emotional expression

The creation of music includes several creative tools: the instrument, the voice, the writing of lyrics, the composition... All these tools allow each of us to express ourselves emotionally: are we sad today? are we happy at the moment we stand in front of our notebook? or quite simply: do we have so many things buried inside us that only an instrument, the writing of lyrics carried by our voice, the composition of this creation would be able to express ourselves to society?

Entertainment and self-satisfaction

Music allows us to have fun. Whether it is sad or happy, our brains and bodies usually respond to the notes we hear! Whether you are dancing while listening to music, or just sitting on your couch with headphones in your ears: music is a healthy physical and mental way for humans to have fun.

For some, it is also the concept of challenge that drives them. In this kind of situation, taking up the challenge of deciphering notes by ear, of composing music is an entertaining way of surpassing oneself and proving to oneself that yes: we are capable of achieving our goals!

Social Function


Communication allows one or more individuals to transmit and exchange one or more messages.

Often, finding the words to communicate one's thoughts, convictions or emotions is not easy. And this is where music becomes a solution! Moreover, communicating through music is sometimes easier than a debate made of words.

For example, musicians often use music to communicate about causes that are important to them. This is what the music group All My Friends are Stars did with the song "Remedy (Climate Change)" in the hope of raising awareness about global warming, which is strongly linked to over-consumption.

Social representation

Knowing a music generally displays a lot of socio-demographic aspects of an individual. Let's look at two specific examples:

  • Lullabies for children : In every country, every continent we have well-known lullabies to help children fall asleep. For example, in France it is the lullaby "Fais dodo, Colas mon p'tit frère" that is remembered most, even as an adult. Or in the United States, the lullaby "Rock-a-bye, baby" is the best known of all.

  • Generation-related music : With the emergence of Tik Tok, which is mainly used by a young population aged between 15 and 25, many tunes have become popular for a particular age group. Recently, the music "Lucky Girl Syndrome" by the singer Carlina has become one of the most used and known music by young people aged between 15 and 25.

Cultural Function

Validating national institutions

Music is a way to be recognised by a national institution. The perfect example of this is the national anthem!

When we come from a country, we usually know the national anthem which expresses through music: the values, the morals and the emblematic history of the nation. Also, it is sometimes compulsory for a future citizen to know the national anthem in order to obtain nationality.

Cultural continuity

Cultural practices are recognized and persist in time through music.

Many cultural events that are celebrated every year have their own music! In some countries, there are national events held on the street where people sing the same music every year. Or, at more personal events like weddings where the wedding march is often accompanied by the same music.

If you’d like to know more on how to communicate with your community through music, feel free to read our article about the topic.

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