Updated: Aug 17, 2020
What is Music?
Music is a mystery.
Scientists and mathematicians can tell us the inner workings of music. For example, like what mathematical formula is used in the production of sound, or what happens in the brain when we play music.
At the end of the day music is a mystery.
There are as many definitions of music as there are dictionaries. They all say something like... music is the art of sound that orders tones or sounds in succession that expresses ideas and emotions yadda yadda.
Yet I can't quite agree that that is all music is. The more I think about it, the harder it is to describe just what music IS.
The best way is to use allusion, anecdotal observations, and experiential examples. For even though understanding sound is a wave and that tones have different frequencies that travels to ear because of air pressure, there is still more to it than that.
What attracts us to the kinds of music we like?
Why does that song so good?
Why does that performer play that tune so well that it enthuses us or makes us weep as opposed to another.
It's true that the music we love is an ordering of sounds, but it reflects something deep in our souls. That when we hear music we love there is something inside all of us that resonates with it. In our core, music represents truth. Truth is beautiful. Someone may retort and say well what about death metal. Is there truth in that? The way music sounds to the ear of the beholder is subjective. It's not uncommon for lovers of country and rap music to be totally repelled by the other. Does that mean that each is wrong or right? Yet this is the paradoxical mystery of music. What truth is there in a phenomenon that divides people? Here again is a paradox. The more we listen, play, perform music of any genre the more we are participating in the phenomenon. Music is a phenomenon that has existed as long as the existence of humans. Has there ever been a time where music has not existed at the same time as humans? Think about this.
If you listen, if you can attune your ear, you too can hear music everywhere...
So music is a mystery. We as musicians participate in this soul based attribute by tapping into ourselves, and with the study of music, practicing, theory, and listening, can we let the music or the performance flow from us to others to uplift them or speak truth to their souls.
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