Thursday, December 8, 2011

Celebration in Music

                                 (To my lifelong friend Linda, who is a musician
When I think about celebration especially around holiday times, I think of music.  Our hearing sense, stimulated can summon emotion.  A sound can alert us to a sense of all-rightness, or not, or even a memory.  When we hear a song from our youth or one we first heard at an important event, we are transported back to that time by our memories.  Yes, it can be a sad memory as in the passing of a loved one or the marriage of a young relative with the inevitable moving away.  But more so we interpret it as being so personal as to be specific to our history and a reflection of our feelings and personality, alone. 
Everyone has a favorite song.  It may change through time, but at a given moment you do have one.  The song seems to have been written just for you.  You may even think that by some strange twist of fate, the writer has “tuned” in to your feelings and crafted this piece to reflect your on-going trials and tribulations; and maybe even to “guide” you.  My favorite song now, is “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry.  Although I knew this song was perfect as soon as I heard it, I tried very hard to NOT like it.  After all, the theme is about a young woman’s death and her Mother carrying on.  To any Mother, there isn’t a more emotionally charged issue than something that affects her child.  Then I have to ask myself, if it wasn’t the subject matter that endeared me to it, what meant so much more to me than the words meanings?  I decided it had to be the voice of the singer.  So beautiful, clear and even a little haunting, it “spoke” to me, a person with limited technical musical skills, by joining with the unkind words into a delivery that was received as personal and heartfelt.
Is it something that is “wired” in our brains that makes us feel like this?  And here I am assuming that everyone is touched by a particular song.  A song that they identify with more than any other, that perhaps was written and performed “just for them”.  Or is it just human nature to be sentimental or “weepy” when we are audience to a particular musical piece.  Is it perhaps the combination of instruments, skill of the conductor, or the perfect acoustics that can bring on our emotion?  I think we make it personal because some of us realize that music can feed our souls, nurture our desire for these specific feelings, and make that part of our mind whole again for a while, by these alternating cravings and sustenance.
And what better to feed ourselves on than something so “high minded” and eternal as music.  Yes, eternal.  After a song is born it lives on through other artists and performers.  We all have strong feelings about “remakes” of music we are attached to.  When a musician passes, we all know whose song it really is when we hear it in its updated or reworked forms.  Now with electronic and web capabilities of clarifying, storage and “global” transmittance, it seems music is indeed eternal.  What better than music not to stand as a memorial to its creator, but to be a moving inducement, a shared celebration from its creator out to everyone.
Connie Neff
Clear Path Writer (her website is under construction;see Facebook link to contact her.)

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