The History of Hip-Hop Music and its Relation to Sports A famous Danish author and poet once stated, “Where words fail, music speaks. ” Behind this quote is the idea that despite its intangibility and abstractness in form, music carries with it a shocking power that captures emotions words can hardly express. More specifically, it illustrates that music has accomplished so much more than spoken words could have ever done. This relates directly to the world of sports, emphasizing the strong relationship between music and athletics, especially the athletic component of training.
Music and sports are interconnected not only in the aspect of sounds while playing the sport, but also through performance enhancing techniques such as training, acting as synergistic agents in the construction of great athletics. Most people conclude that music and sports act separately from each other, but this paper will help to prove that the two connect on a wide variety of levels, predominantly focusing on the history of the relationship between sport and exercise. In the hotbed of competition, where professional athletes are very closely matched n ability, music has the potential to elicit a small but significant effect on performance.
Before I dive into the relationship between the music and sport, it is important to elaborate on the central term of sport itself. Sport has been a term that has seen several different meanings throughout history as emphasized by David Andrews, a well-known professor from the University of Maryland, when he wrote, “there is no guaranteed or essential manifestation, experience, or indeed definition of sport” (Andrews 395). He argues that although physically based competitive activities re common in most human civilizations, “the myth of sport as a fixed and immutable category is little more than pervasive” (Andrews 395).
He believes that it is unfair to subject sports to one small category, as it sometimes is, because it can be stretched into so much more. Instead, he would side with Giardina, a renowned ethnomusicologist, who believes that sport should be a collective noun suggesting the “diversity and complexity of what are temporally and spatially contingent expressions of physical culture” (Giardina 395). In this sense, the term refers to a uch broader array of activities rather than Just the few many would turn to such as football, baseball, and basketball.
Although it may be helpful to broaden the term to encompass more aspects of sport, Ellis Cashmore argued that sports are fluid and ever changing, so “rather than seeking to develop some universal definition of sport, a more productive interpretive strategy is to locate particular sport forms and physical cultural experiences in the sociohistorical context within which they came to exist” (Cashmore 395). In this essay, it is productive to compare the array of sport orms to the musical culture and see how the two influenced each other throughout history. Sports and music have had a long history that many people do not even know exists.
The link between athletics and music in Western society “is founded upon the ancient Greek notion that the union of strength and beauty is the hallmark of the ideal man” (McLeod 8). In contrast to our contemporary Western notion of the two spneres exlstlng In Isolatlon Trom one anotner, In ancient Greek culture, sports ana the arts, including music, “were intimately bound together in the cultivation of a omplete individual” (McLoud 8). They would hold festivals, most notably the Pythian Games held in Delphi in the sixth century that encouraged music Just as much as they did athletic competition.
If the events themselves did not incorporate actual musical competition, they would at least be accompanied by music. For the ancient Greeks, “the athletic body??”though this was limited to the male body??”was held to be the aesthetic ideal of symmetry and proportion” (McLoud 10). Recent aesthetic analysis of the athletic body maintains such a notion of unity and symmetry but adds the element of technical mastery. Moreover, modern scientific inquiry has revealed four key ways in which music can influence preparation and competitive performances: dissociation, arousal regulation, synchronization, and acquisition of motor skills.
These four ideals help to illustrate how music influences affect athletics, specifically exercise in the modern world of today. The first key practice in which music influences performance is called dissociation. This refers to the idea that during sub maximal exercise, music can narrow attention, in turn diverting the mind from sensations of fatigue. According to Dr. Karageorghis, famous sports researcher, “this diversionary technique, known to psychologists as dissociation, lowers perceptions of effort,” thereby promoting a positive mood state, and assuaging negative aspects such as tension, depression and anger (Priest 1).
The bottom line of dissociation is that during training, music has limited power to influence what the athlete feels physically, but it does have considerable leverage on how the athlete feels mentally, thereby overriding the physical aspects to a certain extent. Next, is the concept of arousal regulation. Arousal regulation is the idea that usic “alters emotional and physiological arousal and can therefore be used prior to competition or training as a stimulant, or as a sedative to calm ‘up’ anxious feelings” (Priest 2). Music thus provides arousal control fostering an optimal mindset.
There are several different types of music that athletes use, although athletes most commonly will use “loud, upbeat music to ‘psych up’ but softer selections can be used to help ‘psych down’ as well” (Priest 4). Every athlete will be different in his or her pre- event routine, but fast tempi are associated with higher arousal levels than slow tempt. Then, comes another performance enhancement technique known as synchronization. Modern research has consistently shown that the synchronization of music with repetitive exercise is associated with increased levels of work output.
This really usually only applies to activities such as rowing, cycling, cross-country skiing, and running where musical tempo “can help regulate movement and thus prolong performance,” but is applicable to specific training exercises as well (Karageorghis 2). The idea of synchronizing movements with music also enables athletes to perform more efficiently, again resulting in greater endurance Karageorghis 3). Finally, the last way in which music influences performance is with the acquisition of motor skills.
Music can impact positively on the acquisition of motor skills; scientific studies have “shown that purposefully selected music can have a positive effect on stylistic movement on sport” (Karageorghis 3). Music is able to act as a reinforcement of essential aspects of a sporting technique as well as making the learning environment more fun. These four aspects are essential to illustrating the modern relatlonsnlp Detween music ana atnletlc tralnlng. However, modern concepts do not only relate music and athletics to training, but during performance as well.
Music has become almost ubiquitous in stadiums and sports environments in general; the sense of sound has been central in sports ever since they have been around. It is almost impossible to imagine silence at sports events; the cheering, clapping, chanting, shouting, and singing are a commonplace, and occupy a considerable amount of time at many sport events (Bateman 1). Of course, there are times where sounds can be absent because silence is called on for concentration, specially in sports such as tennis or golf, but that does not appear in the official rules.
At modern-day events, some teams even hire professional disc Jockeys to make appropriate selections to rouse the players or engage the crowd” (Bateman 14). Not only that, but also most teams “have adopted their own signature anthems or signature tunes which increase team identity and the sense of cohesion” (Bateman 14). In a more general sense, in a sporting context, there are three mains ways music is used. First is as “asynchronous music whereby it is played in the background to ake the environment more pleasurable and where there is no conscious synchronization between movement patterns and musical tempo’ (Bale 14).
This is mostly seen at outdoor sporting events, where the players do not have to have concentration by silence. Second, is “synchronous music, typified by athletes using the rhythmic or temporal aspects of music as a type or metronome that regulates their movement patterns” (Bale 14). This type of context is mainly found in sports such as figure skating and gymnastics where the athletes consciously use the music in their routine or performance. And lastly, is “pre-task music, which entails using a usical stimulus to arouse, relax or regulate the mood of an athlete or a team” (Bale 14).
This refers to athletes listening to music in the locker room or on the bus on the way to a game in order to get into some sort of mental zone, whether it is a relaxed state or aroused state. Although these three examples are positive in that they help the players to concentrate or aid in some manner, not all noise within sporting events is taken as positive. “Within the range of sporting sports is ‘noise,’ a word that carries a negative connotation and is sometimes interpreted as ‘unwanted sound’ and ‘out of lace’ in certain environments” (Bateman 2).
In the sports arena “one person’s music is another’s noise” (Bateman 2). Yet, the noise within the stadium its more important; the roar of the crowd, the shouting from spectators and the applause from fans. These sounds can produce many different emotions; therefore “sports-sounds are relative” (Bateman 3). From antiquity to today, music as an art has been used to motivate, pacify, and accompany those who participate in the organized events of football, baseball, golf, rugby, tennis, swimming, fgure skating, yoga and more.
The ontrolled use of music in an arena, training center, etcetc. , despite recognition of uncontrolled sounds, has had a great effect on athletic training and athletic performances themselves. ; Mmany people fail to recognize this historical and modern connection between music and sports on and off the field. To come full circle, music and sport have a relationship that has been around since the times of ancient Greece. They and feed off of each other in order to create a positive atmosphere during sporting events and further advance athletics through the aspect of training.