Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Soundtrack

Music expresses what words cannot say. The sound of a feeling. Language of the soul. It unites across all boundaries, lifting spirits high and drawing individuals together. It allows us to experience the same emotion and live, if only for a moment, in the same heart. A few gentle piano notes can drape one in all the loneliness of the world. A tight beat moves the body uncontrollably, as if compelled by some ethereal unstoppable force.

Our hero has always been fascinated by power of structured sound; how it can build and sway, progress and break down. It's given him energy and while at the same time reduced him to a dripping mess of tears and snot. His first memories of music involve his mother's old Beatles LPs. The creative imagery of the album sleeves, the textured ridges on the vinyl, the whir of the turntable, the anticipatory crackle and pop as the diamond tip of the needle touched down upon the record. He remembers feeling confused by the emotions stirred up, curious and mesmerized amidst the floating melodies. Listening was not enough. By flipping over specially purchased trash cans and nailing pie tins to the top of toilet plungers, he was able to keep rhythm with the legends- greats like Buddy Rich, Mickey Hart and Animal the Muppet.

Music defies the laws of time and space, carrying us back to certain people and situations; associations strong enough to provoke emotional responses at the mere sound of a song. Adrenaline pumps, hormones rage, booties shake, toes tap and hands clap.  It focuses the mind, evokes creativity, sets the mood for making babies. Music reaches out to us in times of desperation, offering guidance and comfort. The voice of God comes though music and caresses the soul.

Beyond its intangible metaphysical properties, music can be explained through science. Sound is vibration that can be measured. Time signatures result in certain patterns of movement and rhythmic arrangements are what draw in and keep the listener. The tightness and width of sting dictate notes and key while the contour of lips shape sounds. The poetic construction of spoken word lends a human element to music, the voice serving as a unique instrument unto itself. Lyricism can tell a story, create an image or describe a feeling. Verses build, taking audiences to new exciting places they've never been before.

As you listen you see new possibilities in life. New angles and approaches. Music gives you style, a groove to bounce to. Lock yourself in an attic and compose the most soaring sonata the world has ever heard. Get some sticks and kick the most viscous, in-the-pocket beat that the crowd can't ignore. Pick up a guitar and shred the most gnarly, face melting solo ever played. Grab the mic and flip the illest rhyme-stricken verse that Dr. Suess never wrote. Sing loud and come together under the sound. So go on, push play. What spins as the soundtrack to your life?



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