Music has been a part of the human societies for thousands of years. Instances of music can be found in every known culture on earth. It is often said that music is a universal language and this is true since almost all humans seem to like some kind of music. Many people listen to music for entertainment but new research has concluded that music can greatly affect our moods and temperaments and can work to provide our brains with an environment that is conducive to many things. Much of research has shown listening to such music as Bach or Beethoven can even enhance a person’s intellectual thoughts and serve him better memory stores. It is said that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence with the help of music. The smartest man who ever lived, Albert Einstein, also knew how to play the violin. Research has proven that music affects humans in various ways. Music can have both a positive as well as a negative effect on the human brain. It is mostly argued that hard rock, a kind of a noisy and loud music, one that has accompaniments of distorted guitars, earsplitting drums, and vociferous vocal, has a very negative effect on the human mind, and thus on our society at large.
Many studies have found that listening to hard rock music has some negative effects on the human mind (e.g. Friedman, 1959). Greenberg and Fisher (1971) conducted a study in which they played some background music to people who were studying, and it was discovered that those subjects who heard loud, hard rock type music did not attempt the test very well. A study conducted by Henderson, Crews, and Barlow (1945) discovered that some of the subjects on a paragraph comprehension test were distracted by popular music while the hard rock music had adverse effects on the vocabulary test scores. Wolf and Weiner (1972) conducted a study that concluded that there were certain significant differences between the performances of students on arithmetic tests who listened to hard rock music while studying and those who studied in softer music, or in complete silence. These differences were, however, attributed to habituation as most of the test subjects said that they listened to “hard rock” while studying.
Differences in mathematic test scores were found with varying levels of music loudness by the study conducted by Wolfe (1983). Many subjects did claim that louder music caused their concentration to fall. Dr. John Diamond, an Australian physician and psychiatrist, did some research and he was able to find a direct link between muscle strength/weakness and music. His study found that the entire muscular component of the human body goes weak when it is subjected to the ‘stopped anapestic beat’ of music from hard rock musicians, such as Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Queen, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Bachman – Turner Overdrive, and The Band (O’ Donnell). Another effect of the anapestic beat was discovered by Dr. Diamond as what he called as the ‘switching’ of the brain.
“Dr. Diamond said this switching occurs when the actual symmetry between both of the cerebral hemispheres is destroyed causing alarm in the body along with lessened work performance, learning and behavior problems in children, and a ‘general malaise in adults’” (O’Donnell). Shrill frequencies that are found in some kind of music are also known to be harmful to the body. “Bob Larson, a Christian minister and former rock musician, remembers that in the 70’s teens would bring raw eggs to a rock concert and put them on the front of the stage. The eggs would be hard boiled by the music before the end of the concert and could be eaten. Dr. Earl W. Flosdorf and Dr. Leslie A. Chambers showed that proteins in a liquid medium were coagulated when subjected to piercing high-pitched sounds” (O’Donnell).
The above paragraphs mention some of the bodily harm that music can inflict. The next paragraphs shall talk about the social harms that come from hard rock music. Many of the hard rock songs that are being released today contain a lot of profanity and this has a very bad effect on the children who listen to them. A parental community, called The Parents Music Resource center (PMRC), has especially been founded in order to fight against song lyrics that contain profanity, violence and explicit words. Also, it has been noted that hard rock music is very much correlated with drugs, sex, and violence.
Many rock musicians have conformed to this image. Kurt Cobain, a legend from grunge band Nirvana, shot himself to death at the age of twenty seven while on heroin. John Lennon, of The Beatles, once said, “‘Help’ was made on Pot. ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ I was on pills. That’s drug, that’s bigger drug than Pot. I’ve been on pills since I became a musician. I’ve always needed a drug to survive.” It has also been noted that many of the hard rock musicians project a lot of violence in their shows etc. a very relevant example is Marilyn Manson, who has presented himself to the world as an anti-Christ, and has a mockery of the religion by burning bibles in his concerts and by urging the audience to kill their parents.
These facts have been presented in this discourse in order to elucidate the fact that hard rock music has played a very important role in our lives and most of its effects have been viewed quite negatively in the society. Most of the children learn about sex and drugs by observing their rock idols performing such vulgar acts on television or in concerts. The whole idea of hard rock music has been to liberate the human mind of the conservative thought process that is extremely important for the well being of a society.