Music and Crime
Music and crime are two very distinctly different but related things. Music has effects other than providing pleasure to listeners. On one hand, music may affect emotions in such a way that it may trigger a person to justify a criminal act.
On the other hand, it can also help suppress a potential criminal’s emotions, which may possibly prevent crime from happening. For most people, classical music is that which usually has a positive effect. It may calm the violent instinct that is deep within a person, especially those who have no other means to release these instincts. Thus, classical music may have a negative effect on crime.
Music and crime can be correlated through an individual’s mood. The mood that music inherently suggests is usually reflected in one’s thoughts. To clarify, crime may be usually driven by a person’s mentality, while music can influence one’s thinking. In some forms of music, there are seemingly subliminal messages that may cause a variety of effects for different personalities. The subliminal messages that could influence a person can be a contributing factor in crimes (Cooper).
However, other forms of music, like classical music, are popularly believed to have positive effect that can prevent potential criminals from committing crimes. For instance, some studies also show that classical music has the effect of keeping the violent instinct down. This can be attributed to the kind of slow, meditative and soothing quality that classical music has in trying to deal with certain elements, such as brute force and violence.
It can bring back gentle and tender memories of a person, which would most likely result in bringing out the gentle emotions that a person might have hidden deep inside of him (Partenheimer).This can have the unexpected effect of eliminating the kind of violent instinct that leads to crime. For instance, in West Palm Beach, Florida, authorities found that playing classical music in the streets have lessened the criminal incidents in the said street (USA Today).
Everyone is subjected to music with embedded messages. There are kinds of music that seems harmless and innocent that may actually influence one to commit crimes if it has an embedded negative message. This occurs because people have different levels of comprehension; these negative messages may unconsciously encourage them to commit crimes.
If a person was exposed to music with a positive message, like that of classical music, the person that might have been previously inclined to commit crimes will be persuaded to gently stop committing crimes. Moreover, a person’s mood can also be influenced by music. Basically, it works in the same way subliminal messages do. However, it only targets more of the emotional side of a person (Wilson).
People who might have been in the mood for violent acts or criminally prosecutable actions will be very reluctant to engage in these kinds of acts if there is a big emotional weight pressing their feelings. This is the power that classical music has; it is capable of influencing the kind of mood that a person has. Classical music may help encourage resistance for criminal thoughts that will prove to be beneficial to one’s psychological state.
Classical music has the kind of ephemeral quality that the human mind cannot possibly comprehend in all its subtleties. For this reason, the mind cannot actively stop the kind of influence that music exerts. The human mind unconsciously follows the lead made by the kind of music it is exposed to since the sounds are not hindered by simple syntax of human language. The kind of wordless but emotionally tangible quality that is inherent in classical music takes it straight to the inner workings of the human emotion.
There is nothing but the defenseless inner self or ego that bears to receive the kind of message that the music has. Since classical music transcends the usual human emotional barriers through its capability to affect emotions, the person’s thoughts and mood is usually affected as well. In turn, it also strongly influences the actions of the person. Classical music is powerful because it targets the basic emotions that can influence a person’s intention to commit crimes.
In addition, classical music can influence a person in a relatively peaceful or positive way. Even if there are various reasons behind criminal or deviant acts coming in many forms, all of them are at least connected to some emotions as part of the underlying reasons hidden deep in the part of the human psyche. Classical music, which has an unfathomable effect on the human psyche, can highly influence a person’s decision to commit a crime.
In conclusion, classical music is conducive to positive emotions; therefore, it has a negative effect on crime because it triggers a positive effect on one’s emotions and thinking. The effect of such musical forms and the mood it represents has the capacity to diminish a person’s violent instinct, as well as to keep criminal thought at bay. In this way, classical music can be instrumental in preventing crimes.
“Classical Music on West Palm Corner Deters Crime.” USA Today. 8 July 2001. The Associated Press. 22 March 2008 <http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/07/08/music.htm>
Cooper, Candy. “Subliminal Messages, Heavy Metal Music and Teen-age Suicide.” San
Francisco Examiner. 29 September 1989. 5 March 2008 <http://www.reversespeech.com/judas.htm>
“What are subliminal effects?” World of Mouth Experiment. 2007. 5 March 2008
Wilson, Stephanie. “The effects of Music on Perceived Atmosphere and Purchase Notions in
Restaurant.”(Abstract). Psychology of Music 31.1 (2003): 93-112. 5 March 2008 <http://pom.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/31/1/93>
Partenheimer, David. “Violent Music Lyrics Increase Agreesive Thoughts and Feelings,
According to New Study.” APA. 2003. 5 March 2008 <http://www.apa.org/releases/violentsongs.html>
“Classical Music on West Palm Corner Deters Crime.” USA Today. 8 July 2001. The Associated Press. 22 March 2008 < http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/07/08/music.htm>