columns articles archives index

Column Archive

July, 2010

"Where Music Can Take You"

by Webmaster

I had a strange experience today. I was getting therapeutic treatment on my shoulder, elbow and hand. Instrumental music was playing in the background. For the treatment to work, I had to relax. I totally zoned out: I was seeing other images, hearing other sounds, and feeling other sensations. The sensations from the treatment and the background music felt like the dream.

I write songs. I am primarily a lyricist and believe the power in my songs comes from the lyrics. Sometimes I hear music associated with my lyrics. Sometimes I don't, or I don't like what I hear, so let my co-writers write the music for my lyrics. I believe the purpose of the music is to support and reinforce the words.

Recently, I've discovered some instrumental music that makes me "see" images associated with the music. I remember an exercise from grade school, where the teacher played symphonic music and told us to draw a picture that illustrated the music. I couldn't do it. I didn't see pictures in the music. So, for me to be able to do that now, is amazing. How surprising, then, for me to find myself driving home last week, looking for the perfect photograph to illustrate a piece of music.

"...I was conscious that I was experiencing something unforgettable, one of those magical moments which we only understand when it has passed. I was entirely in the present, with no past, no future, absorbed in experiencing the morning, the music, the sweetness, and the unexpected prayer. I entered a state of worship and exstasy and gratitude for being in the world...." — Paulo Coelho, "The Witch of Portobello"

Music has that ability to touch us, to affect our emotions, to transport us to another place and time.

Musicians and dancers feel that, in both senses of the word "feel." Playing music and dancing makes our response to music a total body experience. Music becomes embedded in our muscle memory. When we sing along with a song on the radio, we remember the tune, hear it in our head, and our muscles remember not just the rhythm, but the pitch of the notes.

"...muisc is as old as human beings. Our ancestors, who traveled from cave to cave, couldn't carry many things, but modern archaeology show that, as well as the little they might have with them in the way of food, there was always a musical instrument in their baggage, usually a drum. Music isn't just something that comforts or distracts us, it goes beyond that—it's an ideology. You can judge people by the kind of music they listen to." — Paulo Coelho, "The Witch of Portobello"

I believe that there is a genetic memory in all of us. We might experience it as deja vu or in a more pronounced way. I've experienced it, by knowing my way around a town that I'd never visited before, but where my ancestors had lived. I think that we carry a genetic memory of music in us, and that will cause us to relate to some music more than others. And we bond with people who like the same music we do.

I asked a man I know why he doesn't date women who are much younger than he is. He said, "They don't know the words to the songs."

"...when I dance, I'm a free woman, or, rather, a free spirit who can travel through the universe, contemplate the present, divine the future, and be transformed into pure energy." — Paulo Coelho, "The Witch of Portobello"

I used to fall asleep when I listened to symphonic music. I had to do something while listening (crochet or needlepoint or mending) to keep from falling asleep. I don't consider falling asleep to be a trance or transformation. But music and dance can put is into a trance or transform us.

No wonder there is a healing power in music.

Thanks for visiting AcousticByLines.

This site does not use cookies or keep your data. It is strictly informative.