The role of arts, crafts and culture in music


By Kweku Bolton

Did you know that music is not all about the rhythm and melody? Well aside from its appeal to the ears, there are other elements that make music more colourful and artistic. These elements are the art, craft and culture embedded in any form of music. For better analysis and a deeper understanding of the deletions of the unknown elements in music, Kweku Bolton throws light on the details.

Music, art, craft and culture have something in common, we call it creativity but they have different dimensions. Centuries ago, musicians combined arts and crafts to identify people’s culture in their careers.

Now, How can a musician creatively combine art and craft in his or her music to make the song sell or be delightful to the audience?

In order to understand the beauty and wealth in it, let me take you through it. Generally, ‘Art’ is an expression and application of imagination, feelings, thoughts or any other human creativity, in visual form, having aesthetic and emotional value. It includes painting, drawing, photography, architecture, labels and decoration. ‘Craft’ involves an activity involving skill and experience in the creation of handmade tangible objects that fulfill a particular purpose. The purpose can be decorative or functional or both, depending on the use. For instance, bird nests, mats, woven baskets, embroidery, handbags, candles, jewellery, pottery, glasswork, woodcarving among others.

Artistic works can be found anywhere- in homes, bars, hotels, restaurants, tourist sites, as well as in music performances and sometimes at cultural festivities.

A highlife musician, Gyadu Blay Ambuley emphasized that we use culture to educate the people. We use music to inform the people we use arts also to inform the people so these three things in combination bring knowledge to the people.

Researchers identify 4 types – traditional music, art music, secular music and popular music. These types of music have categories and dimensions. They explain traditional music as religious and folk, and hymns. Where popular music includes gospel, high life, hip life, rage and funk. Art music includes classic and jazz and secular music include love song, protest song, dances, rock, blues and disco.  Yes! People may say music is a talent but one needs to learn and understand the elements and its appropriate usage. The music lecturer, Professor Benjamin Amakye of University of Ghana called on music to do research and understands the arts, and culture of the people before applying in their music.

The act, craft and culture in yesteryear’s music are different from contemporary music due to imitation of Western culture.

Studies show that participating in music, art and craft can alleviate pain help people manage stress, promote wellness, enhance memory, and improve communication, aid physical rehabilitation, and give people a way to express their feelings.

The combination of arts, crafts and culture in music is complex and sometimes confusing. A piece of art or craft has an intended meaning that provokes a person’s feelings and harms the brain. It has a limitless expression and endless interpretation, which depends on the person.

Obviously, music has the power to unite people and help them dream, “Music can change the world because music changes people”.

Doctor Daniel Adjie who is a lecturer of University of Ghana, school of performing arts stressed that some of the artworks that we see when they are combined with music; are extensions to provide meaning to the music. So if the person does not understand the lyrics, and he or she understands whatever picture has been brought together it enhances meaning of the music.

The fact is that artists’ performances influence people positively or negatively after listening to or watching. Though artists entertain the public most of them misuse arts, crafts and culture without focusing on the role of acts crafts and culture play in music.  Sometimes both lyrics, arts, crafts and culture are given different information.

The use of culture in music, tells a story, whereas Art gives particular attention to ideas, feelings and visual qualities. Craft denotes a form of work, involving the creation of physical objects, by the use of hands and mind. There is a flow of emotion in art, which emerges from the heart and soul. 

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