Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days - Day 16 - Music

 Silence is the speech of love,
The music of the spheres above.

         Richard Henry Stoddard,  Speech of Love.

There is something heavenly about music.  God is a precise Being, and Musical notation is mathematically precise.  To learn music theory, you must be something of a mathematician.  Certainly you must have rhythm to understand the structure and beat of a song.

Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
~William Congreve (1670–1729)The Mourning Bride. Act i. Sc. 1.

I love music.  If I'm in a snit for one reason or another, good music always soothes my anxious thoughts and gets my mind back on track, thinking with wisdom and clarity.

O Music! sphere-descended maid,
Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom’s aid!
~William Collins (1721–1759)

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory;
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

Have you ever noticed the memories flooding back at the sound of a song or the smell of breakfast cooking?  The smell of coffee early in the morning on a cold winter's day brings me back to being a child in my grandparents' house in Lac Beauport.  We'd awaken in a chilly room to the sound of music on the little transistor radio in the kitchen below, and the smell of toast, coffee and bacon.  We'd reach over to the little chair beside the bed and haul in our outfit for the day, because it was too freezing cold to throw back the blankets and get dressed outside of the bed.  We'd dress quickly, under the covers, then grab for our slippers before racing downstairs to the warm kitchen, to see Granny and Grandad sitting at the table, toasting the bread in an old-fashioned toaster.  Mickey the parakeet was there to strut around the table and help himself to crumbs.

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
~William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

Music plays a part in love.  Families share a love of particular pieces.  In our own family, the kids would be quick to tell you that "It is Well With My Soul" is Daddy's favourite hymn, and that Mom wants a Brooke Fraser song played at her funeral.

Where music dwells
Lingering and wandering on as loth to die,
Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof
That they were born for immortality.
~William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

We are immortal.  We're spiritual beings.  Music moves the hearts of men and women.  No wonder there are so many Famous Quotes about music:

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.
~Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

The music in my heart I bore
Long after it was heard no more.
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

That heavenly music! what is it I hear?
The notes of the harpers ring sweet in mine ear.
And, see, soft unfolding those portals of gold,
The King all arrayed in his beauty behold!
~William Augustus Muhlenberg (1796–1877)

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.
~William Shakespeare (1564–1616),
The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.  [text]

We are the music-makers,
  We are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
  And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
  On whom the pale moon gleams:
We are the movers and shakers
  Of the world forever it seems.
~Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy (1844–1881)

Some of my most loved movies are filled with music.  I think of "The Sound of Music", or "August Rush", or "Mr. Holland's Opus".  Music moves the story along in each of these movies.

The light of love, the purity of grace,
The mind, the music breathing from her face, 
The heart whose softness harmonized the whole,—
And oh, that eye was in itself a soul!

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more
~George Gordon Noel Byron, Lord Byron (1788–1824)

Some folks are not affected much by music.  They can't be bothered listening to the latest artists (and who can blame them, actually?) or famous composers of the past.  They don't have song lyrics stuck in their brains, ready to pop out at a moment's notice.

Those of us who love music know what it's like to quote lyrics at the drop of a hat.  Someone comments, "That was a sad movie!" and others immediately respond, in song, "Saaad movies... always make me cryyyy!"  If a bushel of peaches is ready for canning, you'll hear "Millions of peaches, peaches for me!"

A few can touch the magic string,
  And noisy Fame is proud to win them;
Alas for those that never sing,
  But die with all their music in them!
~Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)The Voiceless.

How sad for those that never sing.

How about you?  Do you have music in your soul?  Are you always learning new songs, singing along with the radio, looking up artists on YouTube?  Even if you can't play a musical instrument, do you take joy in those that can?  I know I do.

No comments:

Post a Comment