Monday, January 21, 2013

Music: Heart and Soul

Do you ever wish you could sit down at a piano and have your ideas flow out of your fingers? Perhaps you can do that. I cannot. I have a hard enough time letting my thoughts flow through my fingers to the pen or keyboard. But music... Music has a way of reaching to our souls more deeply than so many words on a page.

A lively tune can set our feet and hearts to dancing. Some songs pierce our hearts with their Beauty, their depth. Other pieces rend our hearts with their pain and loss. Music can make us feel courageous, patriotic, melancholy, vulnerable,  pensive, inspired, or cheerful. Music can both break our hearts and mend them.

Music is something to which we respond. It moves us, makes us, breaks us. Yet we make music, we break music (rap?), we try to make it fit to ourselves. One of my former tutors wrote a short bit about this here: Symphony As Landscape. The comments he made intrigued me: 
"For me, the music is not a soundtrack to something else; it is its own reality and it makes a first claim on me. Put very roughly, as I listen, I surrender my attention to it; I am less important than the music and my attention is on it and not on anything else. I am aware of its contours and features; my feelings about them are secondary, not primary."
(Rikky Rooksby)

There is something remarkable about music... It is both a thing to tame and create, as well as a thing that creates various feelings, moods, or resolutions within us. It is obviously a gift from God -- only God's gifts are set in tension like that.

Music is not simply 'background noise' - it is its own 'self' as it were. It has a personality imbued from its creator, yet it has themes and lines of its own, apart from how the composer may have planned things. Visual arts, writing, crafting things, music -- they all have a way of taking on a direction and 'self' of their own. If the creator is willing to let his work live, that is. I think it is these moments in our work, our play, our sub-creating where we most 'image' God. When our work takes on its own 'personality', it is often then that God speaks to us (and others) through us. We just have to step aside and let Him breathe the life into the work.

~ Johanna

For more thoughts on this, please do yourself a favour, read The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers, or Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle.

Post Script:  I write this from an writer's perspective, not a musician's. A musician would more deeply understand the soul and the way of music. I can only try to grasp a little of how music influences me, and how (like other mediums), music is its own being with its own 'personality'.

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