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Music is the Best way to Record History


Music makes you feel what culture and society's values were many years ago. You can understand who a people were and what their values were just by experiencing their art. It is also so contagious that people will remember this history because they love the music so much. They will make sure to pass it down through the generations.

You can feel the culture's connection to God when you listen to J. S. Bach. You can sense forests and streams and fresh air when you listen to Vivaldi. And you can understand a strong sense of community when you listen to Richard Wagner. Listen to music from the 1990s and you can see how fast paced that decade was in America. This type of history cannot be faked.

Someone can write down bogus information of something that did not happen, or they can manipulate the truth if history is in written form. This is why I always use more than one source for any article I write. You need multiple perspectives.

But music is recording a genuine feeling of what an entire culture was like and what their highest values were. So many songs have been written about romantic love or God's glory. This more than anything else shows what really matters to any given culture. It is one of the truest visions of a culture's soul.

The Skye Boat Song

History can be stored more directly within songs. The Skye Boat song is one of many examples from the 18th century. It is one of the most beautiful Scottish rebel songs, history disguised as a lullaby.

Bonnie Prince Charlie was the claimant and heir apparent to the throne of Great Britain in the 18th century. He led the Jacobites, supporters of a Catholic monarch, in a series of victories across Scotland and England in 1745 in an attempt to recapture the crown.

During the Battle of Culloden in April of 1746, troops were meant to be sent to aid in defending Scotland from the English, but were never ordered to or otherwise never came. The Scotts were overrun and a horrific massacre would ensue after their defeat. This massacre is never spoken of or even taught.

Bonnie Prince Charlie was disguised as a maid and rowed to the Isle of Skye by Flora MacDonald. Flora was later imprisoned in the Tower of London until 1746. The Scottish language, dress, music, and overall native identities were assimilated into English culture. Gaelic names were Anglicized. Many Scotts and Welsh were posted to colonies, as were many other native peoples across the globe where the British went empirical. That battle had a serious butterfly effect globally.

This is simply what has been passed down through story, but mostly comes from what is told in this simple lullaby.

Recording History Before Written Language

Recording history with any written language was almost non-existent in northern Europe until Christianity spread to this part of the continent. But many of the traditional fairy tales are many thousands of years old. Some are 6,000 years old, dating back to the origins of Indo-European culture.

These stories would often be set to a folk melody, making them more fun and memorable. The added motivation to make sure these stories were passed down through generations would lend them to take the form of a lullaby. Two of the most notable examples are The Skye Boat Song and The Gartan Mother's Lullaby.

Originally published

  Tales of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites by
   by The Royal Society


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Music is the Best way to Record History

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