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Michael Odumosu: Exploring The Thin Line Between Noise and Music.

kurating musicThe only thing that makes men conscious of noise is disturbance. This means that the moment sound becomes unpleasant to the ear, it becomes noise.


Music is a combination of soothing sounds. The major goal of music is to create harmonious melody that is pleasing to the ear. We cannot deny the fact that music is often loud. Although man has the capacity to control its volume, he often settles for loud music.


When you hear people say the word ‘loud’, what comes to mind?

Mental disturbance?



In ordinary usage, the word “loud” is characteristically used to denote noise.


Can we then say that loudness of music has caused any confusion between music and noise? YES. If not there would be no thin line between noise and music.


To properly explore this thin line between noise and music, we have to consider the following key words: Sound, Creativity and Volume.



Sound is what we hear. Physicists define sound as a vibration that propagates the mechanical wave of pressure and displacement through a medium that can be any matter. Vibration from the context of the definition is the to-and fro motion.


Away from the physics jargons above. Putting music and noise into perspective, we have to understand that the end result of both is sound (that vibration can be either of both), either you create harmonious melody or you make unwanted noise. Sound still stands as a major connecting factor between both because once you can’t hear sound you cannot distinguish between Harmonious melody (Music) and an unwanted sound (Noise).


At this juncture it is very important to point out that sounds are of many types but this deeply borders on pitch, loudness, and wave frequency, and not all of these please our sense of hearing. In summary, Sound is broadly classified into noise and music.



I would define creativity as a unique way of doing a particular thing to get a desired result different from others. “Doing” in the context of this definition represents action which means creativity is incomplete without action. Music follows sequential arrangements depending on the genre, and it takes creativity to achieve such harmonious melody. That’s why it is pleasing to the ear. There is no creativity attached to noise because it is unwanted sound and does not require special arrangement to get its outcome.

kurating music and noise


This is controlled by the human instinct; the instinct in question allows one to decide what is loud. Volume is the ability to increase or decrease the frequency of a sound. Most people distinguish music and noise based on sound frequency- whether it is loud or just right. If it is loud it is noise and if it is cool it is music.


The elements- Sound, Creativity, Volume- have been used to distinguish music from noise. However, at this juncture, I have to point out that our ideas about the trio and the difference between Music and Noise is subjective. It totally depends from person to person.


Most people would say they enjoy and prefer to listen to songs when the frequency is loud and this does not stop them from enjoying their music no matter how loud it is. In fact, the boom boom of the speaker might just be what they enjoy.


People who listen to classical music enjoy it because it is cool and soft as opposed to persons who listens to rock music. To that classical music person, rock music may feel like noise.


My Conclusion


In as much as it has been stated above that the difference between music and noise depends from person to person. The thin line between music and noise exists from mind to mind. It is highly subjective: determined by individual, personal opinion, likes and dislikes, and some may even say that there is no such line.


Michael is a lawyer, singer, music producer and instrumentalist who has decided to share his thoughts with us, on noise and music. What do you think? Some songs seem like noise to you, yeah? Drop your comments.

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