How do culture and music influence each other?
This is a good question and the most important point is to realize that music creates and shapes culture and culture creates and shapes music. There is a circular relationship. Let me give you a few examples.
First, a culture that celebrates money and material will create music about these topics. For example, a lot of the pop songs of the 1980's was really about materialism. Think of Madonna's top hit, "Material Girl." So, we can say that culture influences music.
Second, there are times when certain voices are heard in society that challenge it. Music that this minority community creates can challenge society and transform it. The classic example is jazz. Jazz breaks the rule of classical forms. Jazz, therefore, in its essence is subversive.
Music is an expressive language of culture. It tells a story, expresses ideas and offers opinions and share emotions of life's experiences.
Music ties generations together. Before the written word, people, tribes, communities used music to tell stories, teach lessons, tell stories of the hunt, the battle, a victory, a defeat, medicine, a recipe, ritual, etc.
The culture, our times, any time, is reflected by the composer of the song. Think about the Big Band Era and it's grand sound and patriotic lyrics. This music reflects the American Culture of patriotism and era of World War Two.
Jazz and Blues, born in America, captures the flavors New Orleans, of the downtrodden as a result of hard economic times.
Slave songs reflect America's history of slavery, the toil it took on African American families, the pain, hardship and strong faith in God.
The songs of the 1950 burst with optimism of a culture the is booming with prosperity, post World War Two.
These are just a few examples.