Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Sound of Music

Today I want to talk a little about music; one of my biggest personal interests. Not so much playing an instrument, but enjoying the many different styles and varieties of music. Music has always played an intricate role in my life. There is always some song that can help me to feel better or one to console my suffering. Whatever the case, there is music that suits my every mood regardless of how I may be feeling.

I have a wide spectrum of musical interests. This spans from big band music from the early part of the 20th century, to old country, to rock, to rap all the way to dubstep, classical and opera. There really isn't many genres of music that I won't listen to. Ultimately I have two preferences to the music I listen to on a regular basis.

The first is folk music. I love folk music because of the stories that the songwriters sing about. As a Canadian I am obviously somewhat biased when it comes to folk music. Some of my favorite folk artists are Canadians. If you've never listened to folk music, I highly recommend looking into Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen or Murray MacLaughlin. They are all really amazing Canadian folk singers. However, as great as they are, they still fall just short of the person whom I feel is the all time king of folk: Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan is by far the greatest songwriter ever. Despite his inability to carry a tune with his voice (on this note I want to state that I happen to enjoy his style of singing and his voice; but that's just me.), his music is simply amazing. His words and his stories let you connect personally with his messages. It would be unfair to discuss these great men of folk without also mentioning some of the amazing women of folk. Some of my favorites include: Joan Baez, Joni Mitchel and Janis Joplin to name but a few. 

My other favorite style of music is Rock music from the 60's and 70's. Here we have another genre of music that more often than not, contains a deep lyrical message and a lasting musical sound. There are so many great artists that emerged during this time that it is nearly impossible to name them all. The reason I specified those two particular decades is because there was a lot of political activism and social change happening around the world that allowed for the type of inspiration that creates music to last through the ages.

My infatuation with music stems beyond the actual listening and understanding of messages. Music, specifically the sound of music created by instruments, is a language all unto itself. Musical notes, when played by even an amateur of the art of music, have the ability to instill and create in us feelings all across the spectrum of emotion. They can make us happy or sad; mad or forgiving; make us cry or make us smile; but most of all, music permits us to exercise our empathy. How? Because we can relate our experiences from music with one another. Music instills an emotional and creative reaction and as humans we can share these experiences with one another.

Music is a wonderful creation of nature. I say nature because the entire Universe is based on waves and frequencies which are mathematical in nature; but also musical. Even monks of ancient monasteries believe that the 'Ohm' sound they use while meditating, music all to itself, is the original sound of creation. Throughout the universe, music is created naturally through naturally occurring events. Ever listen to the sound of rain on a tin roof? Beautiful. It is no wonder that the creative mind of humans was quick to create music of their own.

Music can speak to us on many levels. It can bring us closer together; it can strike the chords of emotions reserved for times of great intensity (good or bad); it stirs the imagination and creativity that exists within each in every one of us; it communicates; it shares. Music is, in its own way, very much alive. It is alive because we breath the very life force and essence of ourselves into its creation. The true great artists of history will be remembered not by the greatness of their masterpieces. No. It is not the creation that is great; it is the artist. The creation is nothing more than a reflection of self; the greatness is in the artist who exposes their true selves to the world; unafraid and without reservation. This is the true beauty of music.