Thursday, May 05, 2005
Touched by an Angel of Music
[Edited for Privacy. E-mail me if you have any questions.]
Tonight was an interesting night. As I went through the night, it felt as I was walking with those close to me although they were not physically with me. As a follow-up to last night’s entry and the entry on March 10th entitled "Patterns in Sound", tonight I had a chance to connect and to speak with a composer who explained to me the difference between listening to music and actually hearing it.
We discussed what the mathematical correlations could be between sound and color, and what a piece of music could look like if it were painted on a wall using the frequencies and the amplitudes of the sound waves which comprise the notes used in a piece of music as a guide telling us what and how to paint. Each song could have a painting associated with it. Wouldn't it be interesting if a joyous song ended up looking one way while a solumn song ended up looking another way? We can call it "Painting with Music".
With this, we also discussed the joy in reading into a piece of music, and how every note has a purpose for being written the way it was; I compared the experience as described to hopping onto a roller coaster ride of the composer's mind. Tonight I also saw a person in the middle of a city stop what she was doing and turn her attention to a woman leaning against a pole and crying. I found it sweet that she wanted to help the woman. Tonight I also stood in awe, face to face with the future I hope one day to merit.
I was moved by the depth of the musical concepts discussed and by the composer’s relation to the feeling of experiencing a joy relating to a choice of notes which the composer decided to use and the garden variety of feelings these notes are known to invoke in the listener. It reminded me of the multifarious emotions one can feel on a daily basis, and how some people are stuck and limited in a world both devoid of emotional variety and saturated by rudimentary emotional extremes such as happiness, sadness, anger, and depression; these people can get stuck in such a muck of compartmentalized categorical thinking simply because they never tried to expand their inner library of emotions to include such emotions such as elation, joy, and the other complex emotions that involve slight nuances, but their use and experience of them can broaden a person's life experience. Keep in mind also that the brain secretes various chemicals based on a person's thoughts and emotional responses. Limiting one's emotions to various negative feelings without balancing them with neutral or positive emotions might cause the nervous system to secrete equivalent sets of neurotoxins that can only create more damage to the person limited to these negative sets of emotions. Imagine how all this relates to the skill of a musician to use choose the right note and to put the correct instruction into the musical score so that the reader or the listener can connect with the proper feeling intended by the composer.
Additionally, we spoke about how simply through delving into the feelings associated with the sound of a chord from the perspective of feeling the music from the shape of one's fingertips on a piano and listening to the correlating sound can deepen a person's experience of the music he is playing because he gets a chance to tactically feel the music in the most literal sense.
Overall, after the conversation, I was left with a feeling of incomplete cadence (a resting point at the end of a musical phrase that does not sound complete, because the pause is on the dominant seventh chord); when the conversation ended, the depth of the conversation's effect on my soul regarding the intricacies of music left me yearning to know more. The existence of such depth in music never occurred to me, and prior to this meeting, I now see the shallowness of my understanding of the music; as far as I previously understood, "feeling the music" was as deep as music got.
Now I understand why some people get emotionally moved by something that on the surface is a nice tune. There is an interplay between notes and the instruments playing them in a piece of music that when they come together, they paint with fire on the listener's soul. But instead of just hearing music being played and sensing what emotions are invoked by your reaction to the music, imagine taking this a step further and being able to look at a score (a piece of written music) and being able to be emotionally moved by what is written on that parchment as if one is looking into a painting -- or even deeper, into the composer's soul, seeing the essence of his or her beating heart. I want to get deeper into this and deeper my exposure to the composer's world. I hope I can merit this.
Please G-d let me have this. I'll be good, I promise.