Music. and Me.

Music is such a funny thing for me. Funny as in strange. Yeah. Strange.

I don't understand music. I don't listen to Brahms or Mahler and understand anything about what the composer was trying to say. I know there are people who do. Understand, that is. People who can go to where the composer wanted to take them - who can see and visualize what the composer had in mind for the piece. I am not one of them.

Don't get me wrong. I love music. I enjoy music. I can recognize GOOD and GREAT music for what it is, and sometimes, just sometimes, mind you, music raises an emotion in me. La Traviatta. Beethoven's 7th. Ode to Joy - his 9th.

But most of the time, the music that reaches deepest into me, is instrumental ... and it is melancholy. I wonder why that is.

On the other hand, (and this - as someone who paints, and enjoys painting) I don't 'understand' most Art. Especially abstract or 'modern' Art. I don't see it. I don't feel it. I don't understand it. Jackson Pollack may appeal to some people, but to me? He just poured paint. Whatever emotion he was trying to express is completely lost on me.

I think this inability to understand Art, and the inability to empathize with the composer of music, are related. It's some 'lack' in the way my brain works. My wiring is 'off' in some minuscule way and it translates to those flaws in my makeup.

The inspiration for this moment of introspection is "Tally's Lullaby", an instrumental piece by Karen Marie Garrett. Some music, like this piece, melancholy and soft, wakes my Muse - it touches whatever it is I need to get to to be able to write - really and truly write. Almost every bit of "Sarah" (you DO know who Sarah is, right?) has been written to a piece by Enya called "Boudicea". Most of "Gwalchmei" (One Knight's Story) has been written to Loreena McKennitt's album "An Ancient Muse" - 'Kecharitomene', 'The Gates Of Istanbul', 'Sacred Shabbat' and 'Beneath a Phrygian Sky' - not so much melancholy, as speaking to an ancient time and culture with which, for some reason, I seem to feel some kinship.

Music touches me. Moves me. Makes me FEEL. But I don't understand it.

I wish I knew why.



Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I think it is enough that music moves you and that you enjoy it -- you don't have to understand it. I can get drunk on music.

Jientje said...

I think everyone has a different understanding anyway. I love how music makes you a writer, it's a wonderful gift.

Nan Sheppard said...

I think that the 'not understanding' is a good thing. People who think they understand are not often open to new ideas, which is why you can write so well from music?

I would hate to truly understand everything. It would be the end.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

meh to understanding it.

I look at art and I either love it, hate it or are ambivalent. I don't really care what the artist (or the critics) say it means. If I like it that is enough for me.

My girls are very artistic and both studied Art as their final year subjects (Too is especially talented doing Fine Art final year in her second last year, previously unheard of) and what really angers me is an art teacher will say 'I don't get it' and then mark accordingly. HOW can you mark Art? It is subjective. It is personal. If it moves you to feel something then its job is done.

Indigo said...

Enya and Loreena McKennit? You have fabulous taste in music. I used to listen to them myself, once upon a time.

I think artistic souls (writers, painters, sculptures...) recognize immediately what appeals to them. I don't get someone understanding and liking everything. To me they haven't refined the things that make the artist in them sing, the notes that give wing to the muse and allow it to soar.

I used to listen to things according to mood. I knew on a very basic emotional level, some day I wouldn't have that gift - the ability to hear. So I craved sounds that would twine around an emotion and make it visual. Hard rock - punk became shrieks of anger. Ballads - sad melancholy. Love sonnets...need I say more?

Such as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the same goes for music and art. (Hugs)Indigo

Hockeymandad said...

I've never been able to understand the translations of classical music or even art. Perhaps I look at things too much from a logical point of view. However, I fully appreciate all art and love all music. But I love music for the inspirations it creates inside me.

I don't think of music and art as things to be interpreted to the authors true meaning. I guess we could ask. BUt I believe that its for the listener to interpret and apply to their own lives. Even music with lyrics can be interpreted 100 different ways based on whats happening in your life at the time you hear them.

A song about a dog could end up being a wedding song simply because the name matches but the words take on a whole new meaning in the eye of the beholder.

The secret I think is not to try to understand it all, just enjoy it all.

Tara R. said...

I don't know "masterpieces" in art or music from bad, I just know what I like. My taste in music is very eclectic, but it can often move me to tears for no other reason than it evokes a certain memory or emotion. To me that is 'good' music.

Emily/Randomability said...

You've got me singing John Denver again...

Music makes pictures and often tells stories, all of it magic, all of it true.
In all of the pictures and all of the stories and all of the magic, music is you.

HalfAsstic.com said...

How interesting and insightful. I guess the whole thing is, you don't really need to understand it as long as you know how to enjoy it.

Daisy said...

Music is often out of mere words' reach. Beauty? Undefinable, and yet you know it when you see and enjoy it.

Lovely post.

PattiKen said...

Other than to say, I recognize what I like when I see it, I can't say too much about visual arts. But I truly believe that music is the key to open parts of mind that are otherwise difficult to reach. As a corporate and business trainer for years, I learned that if I played certain music during class, the trainees understood and retained the material better. Do I understand it? No. But it worked.

NicoleB, Egypt said...

I can relate to this.
I love music, but I just listen to it & feel.
I don't even care too much, who plays it.
Art? Modern art escapes me. Give me good paintings with a theme, ok, abstract? No way!

Audubon Ron said...

For me, music is math with a beat. Pitches correspond with an internal clock or rhythm. Major 3, 5, and 7 create harmony like the way we speak the pitches explain something primordial. Two steps up or one step down to a flat, is like a conversation. For me, the art of painting or drawing or sculpting is also primordial, that is "the being" in the current space in time juxtaposed the time of the art or the message of the art. Merging the now space and a completely different space in the same air. It speaks of many stories. I can also sit quietly in a museum and stare at paintings all day and feel I have learned many things.

What is it like to...

LceeL said...

HollyATOM: I should have known you when i was single. Coulda saved a whole bunch a money.

Jientje: Thank you, Jientje. That's very kind.

Nan: Yeah. I guess it would.

Kelley: An Art teacher did that to LM (Love Muffin) when she was in High School - ruined a beautiful talent. (I have her painting as proof)

Indigo: There is beauty in your eye - that's for certain.

Hockeymandad: "Just enjoy it all" Well said, Patrick.

Tara R: As true for me as it is for you.

Emily: You are so sweet. Thank you, Emily.

HalfAsstic: I DO know how to enjoy - fer sure.

Daisy: Thank you, ma'am.

PattiKen: That's cool. AAnd something to file away for future reference.

NicoleB: Abstract just loses me, too.

Audubon Ron: You like messin' with me, don't you?