On Tuesday I spent more time than I should, listening to Clay Aiken sing. I started with Misty, clicked on Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and pulled out On My Way Here and listened to Something About Us. When we got the news that we could get a MP3 of Suspicious Minds, I downloaded it immediately and listened to it more times than I could count.
What this did was make me hunt for some answers. What is Music? Why am I so touched? Why do I feel better after listening?
First, I looked at some short answers:
Music is what life sounds like. ~Eric Olson
Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach
He who sings scares away his woes. ~Cervantes
In music the passions enjoy themselves. ~Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886
Very nice, but when I found an article by the world-renowned singer, Annie Lennox, I had to read it all. The following is a part of her article from 2008. If you want to read then entire article, you can find it at RESURGENCE
What is music? Music is pure magic. It is a wonderful gift to humanity. Music moves us, and soothes us. It stimulates. It makes us want to dance or sing. It makes us feel happy or sad, inspired or uplifted. It affects our mood in all kinds of infinite ways. It can be exquisitely subtle or wildly raucous: from lullaby, to a war cry for revolution.
EVER SINCE I can remember, music has been an accompaniment to my life. It would be impossible for me to even try and conceptualize a world without music. If you have a natural aptitude and appreciation for it, then music simply draws you to it and connects. Watch a baby nodding her head, clapping her hands, or bouncing in response to a rhythm or melody…….
Songs in particular contain something profoundly elemental. The singer actually ‘becomes’ the instrument, or vehicle of communication and expression. Through the combination of voice, lyrical content and poetic structure, melody, rhythm, the nuance of combined tonal qualities and phrasing within the breath, singers can transmit and translate thoughts and feelings, potentially elevating and transporting both the singer and the listener to another realm. Music really can lead us into another dimension.
Music also tells stories, breaks hearts, reduces us to tears, or seduces us into falling in love, over and over and over again. Music is a universal language. A human creation from a divine source… perhaps.
Music is a mystery, a code. A vehicle of spirit and soul. It is perceived through ‘hearing’ the vibration of sound, the most sublime resonance – from the eardrum to the brain. Music moves us beyond intellect to the heart-centre…….
Did Annie realize she was writing about Clay Aiken when she wrote the bolded words? Whatever, or whoever she was writing about really doesn’t matter. I just realize that we are so lucky to be able to lose ourselves in the stunning voice that belongs to Clay Aiken.