The Relationship Between Culture, Art and Language

Many people think of music, art and dance when they hear the word “culture” and the arts are easily among the most visible and recognizable forms of cultural expression.  The arts have been a part of human existence for tens of thousands of years, pre-dating the written word and probably language itself. 

Styles of music have varied widely from culture to culture, and from period to period. Even the purpose of music differs.  For ancient Greek and Hindu societies, dance was a fundamental part of deeply held religious beliefs.  One of the musical instruments created by the Australian Aborigines, the didgeridoo, may also have been a means of communication over hundreds of miles.  -

Although dance and music can be traced back to prehistoric times, it is unclear which art form came first. Dance generally refers to human movement that can be a form of expression, or a social or spiritual performance.  The “Dancing Venus of Galgenberg” is believed to show the dance and singing of a shamaness and is an exquisite example of prehistoric art. Some of the earliest forms of artistic expression – drawings, paintings, sculpture, pottery, jewellery, and musical instruments – are dated back over 30,000 years and are found at various sites around the world. Some artifacts are thought to be 250,000 years old.

It would seem that the arts and culture are intrinsically linked, however, “culture” is much more than art, music and dance.  We may all enjoy music and dancing, but it clearly means something different to everyone.  

What do ancient Greeks, Hindus and New York rappers have in common?  All three cultures share a deep love and appreciation for music, dance and artistic expression.  Yet these three examples could not be more different and distinct.  Music and dance distinguish them as unique; however it is music and dance that represent ground for a common bond.  

 It is through the granting of cultural freedom that a healthy and harmonious diversity of cultures is achieved.  Not only does cultural liberty protect existing cultures, allowing traditions and beliefs to be passed on from one generation to the next, but also it allows for their evolution through cultural interaction and for the emergence of new cultures to flourish.  Despite its elusive nature, culture plays a tangible role in the lives of all people and is an essential part of individual and societal identity.