How do deaf people experience music?

What is music? “Sound!” That’s what most people would say. But it’s not entirely true. Because if you go past the first expression, sound is not just sound, but vibrations, too. Thanks to this, deaf people can also experience music.

It’s good to keep in mind that being deaf doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t hear a single thing whatsoever. There are different grades of deafness and not everybody is completely deaf. When deaf people experience music, it is mostly the bass and drums that they enjoy. These vibrations are larger. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, you know that you can feel them throughout your entire body if the volume is high enough. It’s a physical sensation – like you are being immersed in the music.

Another thing that deaf people can enjoy are the lyrics of songs. In some songs, the lyrics are much more important than the music itself. There are deaf choirs that sing the lyrics to the music, and it’s absolutely beautiful to watch and listen to them.

Of course, not all deaf people were born without being able to hear. Some people that lose parts or all of their hearing can still enjoy music like they used to before. It’s just that the whole experience is a bit different. Some even keep singing, like this talented girl!

At some concerts, there are interpreters so that deaf people can enjoy the words of the songs while they feel the vibrations. Sure, it’s a bit different to how those who can hear experience music, but it’s still great!

When you think about it, songs consist of four elements: melody, harmony, rhythm, and lyrics.

As a hearing person, you could enjoy instrumental music without lyrics and without a specific rhythm. It would be slightly different, but still beautiful. So you could take away 50% of what music is, and you would still enjoy it. For deaf people, it’s the other way around. You take away melody and harmony, but the rhythm and lyrics are still there!

Even though almost every country has its own sign language, all emotional languages are very expressive. Deaf people use their hands, their facial expressions, and sometimes their entire body to get their message across. That way, their languages are oftentimes richer than spoken languages. This means that even though the speakers might not be able to hear most of the music, it’s a kind of language that actually goes amazingly well with it. After all, music is all about emotions.

Check this video out if you want to know what a deaf person has to say about the topic! Don’t forget to turn the subtitles on!

And here’s a TedTalk if you want to learn more about this interesting subject!

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