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November, 2008

"The Power of Music"

by Webmaster

"...there are no words to the song of the ocean, but the message is and always has been simple: not to forget where we came from. The melody is locked in the water that composes much of what we are. Most humans tend to ignore the song, but not all. You are one of the lucky ones who hold the melody in your heart. But be warned: it is a wandering song carried by the winds and the currents." — Jimmy Buffett, "A Salty Piece of Land"

"The poet Muriel Rukeyser said the universe is composed of stories, not of atoms. The physicist Werner Heisenberg declared that the universe is made of music, not of matter." — Rob Brezsny, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

"A rich day—brimming with scenery and history.
"But at the end of it, I think mostly of that meadow, with the ode of the oriole, the symphony of that wind and the dance of the grass." — Peter Aleshire, Arizona Highways, April 2005

"The bubbling brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks." — unknown

"[I'm] dancing! ...to the same music the leaves are dancing to!!!" — Lynn Johnston, For Better or Worse

Some people hear music in nature. It's easy to hear it in whale songs and bird songs. It's harder to hear it in those things we consider noise. Aaron Copeland heard it it traffic noise.

  • Q: Why do bagpipers walk while they play?
  • A: To get away from the noise.

It seems, the definition of noise is subjective.

"I am reminded now ... of a demonstration of the difference between noise and melody which I saw and heard in a freshman physics lecture so long ago... The professor threw a narrow board, which was about the length of a bayonet, at the wall of the room, which was cinder block. 'That's noise,' he said. Then he picked up seven more boards, and he threw them against the wall in rapid succession, as though he were a knife-thrower. The boards in sequence sang the opening notes of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb.' I was enchanted. 'That's melody,' he said." — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Preface to Wampeters Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions)

"I'm learning to make music from noise." — Brian, age 11

And, it seems the definition of music is subjective.

"Music can save people. But it can't in the commercial way it's being used. It's just too much. It's pollution." — Bob Dylan, answer to Celebrity Cipher, Colorado Springs Gazette, Dec. 13, 2007

"A painting was a dull sword with which to fight a way, and a painter himself could be a hypocrite. But music was a numbing, soothing poison, which—dripped into the general water supply—contaminated everyone." — Andromeda Romano-Lax, "The Spanish Bow"

But, for those who hear music in the world around them, there is a constant source of inspiration.

"Maybe it's because music is about as physical as it gets: your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way." — Anne Lamott, "Traveling Mercies"

"Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail." — Navajo song, quoted by David Baird, A Thousand Paths to Happiness

And music seems to be a constant in our lives, even while we're going about our daily lives.

"In memory everything seems to happen to music." — Tennessee Williams, answer to Celebrity Cipher, Colorado Springs Gazette, Oct. 9, 2007

"Music is the soundtrack of your life." — Dick Clark, answer to Celebrity Cipher, Colorado Springs Gazette, Sept. 27, 2007

"These Huge Holidays? Just another way of forcibly redistributing wealth, kind of a gentle Marxism, but with better music." — Denis Boyles, "LifeEtc.", AARP magazine, November / December 2004

"Music is not only the soundtrack of our lives; sometimes it's the script as well....Music speaks not only about where we are in our lives...but of how far we've come." — Barbara Hey, "Changing Verses Tell Tale in Song", the Denver Post, Sept. 24, 2002

It's also a common language that can unite people.

"No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." — Billy Joel, answer to Celebrity Cipher, Colorado Springs Gazette, Sept. 27, 2007

"Music is the shorthand of emotion." — Leo Tolstoy, answer to Celebrity Cipher, The [Colorado Springs] Gazette, Jul 19, 2007

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." — Aldous Huxley, contributed by Stuart Tarbuck

"A friend bears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails." — Unknown, in Exclusively For Women, July Vol. 3 Issue 34

"Where words fail, music speaks." — Hans Christian Andersen

Differing perceptions of noise can divide them.

"And we believe that if you habitually expose yourself to toxic stories and music, you could wind up living in the wrong universe, where it's impossible to become the gorgeous genius you were born to be. That's why we implore you to nourish yourself with delicious, nutritious tales and tunes that inspire you to exercise your willpower for your highest good." — Rob Brezsny, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

"I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else." — Lily Tomlin, contributed by Stuart Tarbuck

"Music has a subliminal effect on us. It has the ability to transform us and take us places, just like good sex. You might want to think twice about putting on that throbbing techno dance music if you want to hear the sweet nothings your lover's whispering in your ear." — Candida Royale, "How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do", reprinted in "Sexcerpts", Rocky Mountain News, October 16, 2004

"My idea of hell is to be caught in an airport lounge during a snow storm, listening to an aging hippie songstress whacking away at her scratched-up Martin guitar as she plays 'Blowin' in the Wind,' 'Puff the Magic Dragon,' 'I Gave My Love a Cherry,' 'Lemon Tree' and 'We Shall Overcome' in that order." — Pat Conroy, Beach Music

But a song, a really good song, can cross musical genres and survive even the worst abuse.

"The mother ... suddenly and without warning attacked the unsuspecting piano and took off from there, one chubby hand banging out the rhythm while the other banged out something else. The small upright seemed to be jumping up and down, fighting for its life, as she pumped away at the foot pedals." — Fanny Flagg, "Standing in the Rainbow"

"There was a sad song on the radio, and the [cab] driver, who was trying to sing along with it, was too happy to stick with the beat." — Etgar Keret, The Nimrod Flip Out

"Two guys were sitting together in a bar. One of them is majoring in something or other in college, the other abuses his guitar once a day and thinks he's a musician." — Etgar Keret, The Nimrod Flip Out

And, a good song can improve our health, help us shape our lives and our world, survive the bad times, celebrate the good times, and help us become the people we want to be.

"A little night music can help older adults sleep better and longer.
"In a study of men and women ages 60 to 83, those who listened to soft, soothing music for 45 minutes at bedtime reported that it took them less time to fall asleep, and that their sleep was sounder than before.
"The study [was] by researchers ... who found that soft music eased the pain patients often experience after surgery." — "Discoveries", AARP Bulletin, June 2005

"Brain dead at work? Throw on your headphones and hit the pavement.
"We know exercise improves mood, but research at Ohio State suggest working out to music boosts the brain as well. The study tested people's emotions and verbal fluency before and after exercise. Verbal ability improved only when music accompanied the exercise. So if you're on a deadline and the mojo's not flowing, take 20 minutes to walk around the block with your MP3 player pumping tunes. Even with the break, you'll finish your project faster, because you'll operate at a higher level when you get back to your workspace." — Jorge Cruise, "FitSmart Music + movement = better brainpower", USA Weekend, Mar 11, 2005

"Studies show that when people listen to music, their brains secrete many of the same neuro-chemicals secreted when they take drugs, eat chocolate, and have sex." — Patricia Nagele, CMP, "Healing With Music" in Exclusively For Women, July Vol. 3 Issue 34

"...the Chemehuevi Indians ... lived in the hard, harsh heart of the Mojave Desert. A boy came of age only when he memorized the song of his clan, which took years to learn and days to sing. The songs contained a verbal map of the clan's claimed territory, with references to every water hole, seasonal bloom and haunt of the bighorn sheep. Anyone passing through that clan's territory would hire a guide who knew the song and so could find the hidden water.
"I longed to learn such a song.
"But alas, I was the son of an itinerant city manager, and I had myself become a rootless reporter. I had moved and moved from place to place, nearly forgetting my own longing for a song." — Peter Aleshire, editor, Arizona Highways, April 2005

"The simple and beautiful idea of a songline is that music is the way to measure time. Life is a journey that's measured not in miles or years but in experiences, and the route your life takes is built not of roads but of songs. How far is it from Key West to Miami? To some it is 147 miles. To me, it is about eleven songs." — Jimmy Buffet, A Pirate Looks at Fifty

"The songs have lasted 100 years, or hundreds of years, for a reason.... They were really, really well-written pieces of music.... They have worlds in them. You just kind of go in — it's a playground. You go in, and you get to play around." — Bruce Springsteen on performing folk and old blues songs, quoted by Larry McShane in "Springsteen takes a folksy turn", The Denver Post, April 25, 2006

"...live your life as if it were a song you love." — Freewill Astrology, Aries, Feb. 16, 2006

"A day without music is worse than a day without sunshine" — from Mike Dudley

"...without music, life is a journey through a desert..." — Pat Conroy, Beach Music

"Every now and then I listen to a piece of music, and it kills me. ...the emotion, the beauty of it all. ...wherever it is. My body just reacts to it. And I say to myself, God, I'm so lucky that I am able to experience this. That feeling has never gone away." — Itzhak Perlman, AARP Jan.&Feb, 2004

"Music, I suppose, will be the thing that sustains me in the time of my life when I am too old for sex and not quite ready to meet God." — Dolly Parton, in "Hello, Dolly!", Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul

So, pick up an instrument and play. Hold your head high and sing.

"Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us." — unknown

"Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." — Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, from the Spring 2001 Swallow Hill Music Association Quarterly

"Use the talents you possess; for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best." — unknown

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