Humans and Music
So after a talk with @ii-thiscat-ii we realized how weird music could be to a species that doesn’t have music. Think of it, what is music, it’s sound organized in specific patterns that evokes emotions in us. Our brains are wired to recognize music. Just tap on the table with our fingers and if we do it regularly enough most people can recognize it as a tune.
But imagine how it would be for a species that have no concept of music. Like they could probably wrap their heads around the idea that we find certain sounds more appealing than others, and that we have tools specifically made to create these appealing sounds.
But imagine them trying to make sense of a movie soundtrack. Like, why is there this sound? There’s no sound like that in an abandoned house? What do you mean it adds atmosphere? Is that what you hear when you go into a place like that?
What about an alien attending an event where they sing the national anthem. Suddenly every human is standing up, and they’re all acting serious, and suddenly they all start making the same sounds, all at once, in unison. They’re also saying the same words, but they’re not saying it the same way they say it when they speak. The words are recognizable, but the pitch and tone are completely different. What’s going on!?
We also have different types of music for different occasions. We have cheery music, dark music, sad music, and so many different varieties of each. The aliens have no idea how we figure this out, or how we can have “cheery” music with accompanying words that are sad.
What if because they didn’t evolve to use music, other species of aliens can’t even really hear the components of music. Like, they can tell that two pieces of music sound different, they can’t really hear things like beat, tune or melody. Or at least they don’t recognize such thing as musical. Like, a human is tapping out a tune on a tabletop and the alien at the table thinks they are trying to communicate through code or something. They know there is a pattern to the tapping but can’t figure it out. It probably blows a few minds that we have our own languages that exist specifically to record these strange sounds humans like to make.
What if species that have dances can’t understand why humans need these strange sounds in order to dance and can’t really see the connection between music and dance that humans seem to have.
What if a crew of a ship suddenly hear the strangest sounds. None of them recognize the sound, but its coming from the engine room so that can’t possibly be good. They burst into the engine room expecting the worst, only to find the human crew members having a jam session.
What if aliens can understand that we would make specific tools to make specific sounds, but a bewildered at the sheer variety of means we will use to generate it. From electronic speakers, to fine instruments, to an upturned pot and a half-empty bottle, to our own voice and bodies.
What if the only thing that blows them away is the fact that one human can start up a tune and the other humans can pick it up and add to it and still create something more or less harmonious.