Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I’ve been listening to a lot of different music lately and have been trying to pay attention to what grabs me while I’m listening.
You’d think the words would be the thing, but the words have more potential to push me away than draw me in. As long as the words aren’t so stupid or corrupt that they drive me away from a song, I find that I’m looking for something more complex.
Even in the simplest songs that have more than one instrument, there is a combining of rhythms and tones that are crisscrossing, moving and changing. And I find that this causes a really strong response in me both emotional and, I think, physical.
It can be something classical, like Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I have a recording by Dmitry Sitkovetsky where he arranges this keyboard music for strings. It is, in my opinion, some of the best music ever recorded. Hearing it on strings is almost like hearing it move from two dimensions into three. I always go back to listening to it over and over again because the interplay in the music is endlessly compelling and profound.
But it doesn’t have to be classical. The music of James Brown or Tower of Power, Thelonius Monk or Chick Corea. The complexities of the drum programming that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produce. David Crowder’s melodic twists, stringing out against changing patterns. The counter melodies that some country and folk and pop artists craft between the instruments and voice.
There is a math to all of this that rises above numbers on a page or musical notes on a staff. It’s like finding the answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.
There’s an old hymn from the 1800's called “This Is My Father’s World.” And there’s a line in the song that says, "This is my Father's world, and to my list'ning ears all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.”
This “music of the spheres” is a very old idea, basically that the planets and universe figuratively “sing” with their interplay throughout creation. And I find a similarity there, between how I feel when I look up at the night sky and see the stars and planets, and how I feel when I hear the interplay of music.
I don’t know if you can relate to any of this, but I felt like trying to express it. I think I have not done it very well, but some things are not done much justice with words.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2011