Thursday, September 22, 2011

music in real time.

     I've been thinking more about what music I am surrounded by, and how it's changed what music is for me these days.  It used to be very cathartic, music: heavy emotion, high ups and downs, joyful, sad, transforming, inspiring, etc...  Now, it's cartoon jingles, goodnight songs, nursery rhymes, and made-up tunes to sing to my children.  Simplified and positive; while not wholly fulfilling, I enjoy it all.  I do manage to squeeze in some grown-up good stuff now and then, and even got my son hooked on some of it, but all that amazing music out there that I was once surrounded by, is no longer the soundtrack of my life.  And it seems that when I have a chance to be alone, I embrace the quiet.
      I have found, when I do see a show, a concert, or listen to music at home, that I enjoy it fully.  It's pleasurable, and positive.  I can still be transported by an amazing piece of music, or awed by something new, or entranced in a song, but it is not all-consuming. There is comfort, too, in that the music hasn't changed; I have.  Music is amazing in how it affects us, how our memories impact how we hear something, or perform something.  When I sing "Rock-a-bye Baby," I am affected only by the joy it gives my daughter; when I sing her something from my past, or my childhood, it is emotional and moving for me, but then the song is over, and I'm right back to nursery rhyme mood.  It's nice. There is a lot to be said for being completely immersed in a thing, and the benefit of that can be great and amazing, but a little perspective and a "Rock-a-bye Baby" can go a long way.

A piece of music is always open for interpretation in many different ways; is it possible to get away from our perceptions and simply hear or play the music, or are we constantly interpreting it?


  1. Nice post; poetic at moments. Given the centrality of emotions here, I'm looking forward to your take on Zangwill's essay.

  2. thank you. i'm off to face that pile of papers now...