What’s Your Song of Friendship? (Part 1 of 7 on the World in Six Songs)

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Book and Theory Background

Daniel J. Levitin wrote an absolutely brilliant book called The World in Six Songs, supported by a great website with the many music samples referenced, among other great related material.

My basic paraphrasing of the concept is this. All the songs in the world could be fit into at least one of six categories providing an evolutionary benefit to humanity, often ultimately tied to our social nature.

The book and website offer far more detailed interpretations, of course, but I will expand on my paraphrasing with each post and the associated topic.

Daniel J. Levitin and The World in Six SongsIn a series of posts, I will describe each of the six categories in brief, one at a time:

  1. Friendship
  2. Joy
  3. Comfort
  4. Knowledge
  5. Religion
  6. Love

I will describe what the categories are about because they are not as limited in scope as the category names suggest. I will then supply one of my choices and ask all readers to do the same if they so wish. In the seventh post of the series, I will offer the chance to put the song choices all together so readers can read the entire set on one post. I do this because it would be a long post to describe all six categories at once, but to have all the answers in one place might be nice.

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This post focuses on Songs of Friendship

July 30th add-on in italics, from Dan Levitin in a summary article
Friendship songs centre around group cohesion, whether it be for war, or the bonding of different cliques in high school. For example, in prehistoric warfare, attackers would sometimes ambush another tribe using loud instruments (especially drums) to surprise the targets while they were still sleeping. Countertactics employing the use of singing may also have been used as a signal that the group was awake.  These songs serve to protect a tribe/group or succeed in the takeover of another. In the context of social groups, they provide a sense of community and belonging, bringing people together.

These songs serve the purpose of bringing people together to promote cooperation in one form or another in order to survive, or at least make life more tolerable. Applied to various situations, cooperation could promote any of these situations:

  • Working together
  • Attacking/defending together
  • Supporting each other
  • Friendship
  • Averting conflict
  • Forging group identity (maybe not formally but like a bonding anthem for a group of “outcasts”)
  • Others

The evolutionary value is that humans interact socially, whether in friendly or destructive ways. If we can avoid the latter, like in wars, we are more likely to survive and thrive as a species. Our social bonds are essential to our well-being, and we do survive and thrive better in groups, so anything that helps us in these causes are beneficial to our evolution as a species.

Audio sample of songs from the Friendship chapter in The World in Six Songs can be found on the website. No direct link was available, but click on the Songs menu option and appropriate page number range link carrying pages 41 to 82. Please note that not all songs are meant as samples of Friendship songs. Some are just referenced material in the book text.

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Author Daniel Levitin chose

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My choice for Song of Friendship is

You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King (lyrics).

It fits into the Friendship subcategory of various bonding purposes, but I do believe that true friends ultimately help each other. There isn’t any other song I know and feel tells someone they’ve got a true friend better than this Carole King song. Nobody sings it better, either!

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What is your choice for Song of Friendship?

Please leave your choice as a comment.

Lyrics and YouTube/audio link would greatly enhance your answer so readers can know more about your choice. They are not necessary, though, and not possible if no lyrics or version exist.

You can include songs you wrote as a choice, too!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 10.5

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