Today’s topic comes from top Twitter type Mark Catchlove
The Power of Music.
Where to begin?
De La Soul?
Rhapsody in blue?
Do we begin with a beat? Something that reflects a pulse?
Or with a melody?
When I read a dictionary definition of a melody – “a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying; a tune.” – it’s so far from melodic, it makes me smile at the daftness… Some Things? Some Things are beyond words or descriptors.
Music is a language all by itself.
It can seep into your body, through your ears or through the thump of it, the vibration of it through your skin and your bones.
It can be terrible and tinny and annoying – pop-py, repetitive, surface throw-away crap.
It can be so stupidly beautiful, that everything stops and you are entirely alone with it.
It can be something that bonds you with a thousand strangers, as you sing together – one tune, well known, uniting.
It can be lofty, intellectual, refined.
It can be basic, dirty, gritty, ubiquitous.
It can be painful – I once met someone who found music excruciating – all music. No-one understood how this could be (I didn’t either). It drove them from restaurants, it upset them in lifts, shopping was hideous for them….it seemed to literally hurt their body. I remember saying “you are allergic to music?” and they said, basically, yes. My reaction of “shit that’s AWFUL” was one they got a LOT. But it wasn’t awful for them. That was their life. Worse was folk like me saying: “How Awful” ALL THE TIME.
There are those who can read music, write music – to me that’s wonderful.. The sheer privilege of being able to create music, not just consume it. Oh what a thing to have. If you are musical in any way shape or form, I hope you appreciate the landscape you can navigate….. I don’t mind if you think you are awful.. if you can play, if you can read music – if those tiny strange notations on a bunch of straight lines makes sense to you, or more miraculously still, if you can look at that page of notes and “hear’ what it is there, in your head, without a instrument interpreting it. Wow. That’s a thing.
Without thinking too hard, powerful musical moments can come to mind. As a child, scooped up on my Mum’s hip, as she swayed about the kitchen singing Abba’s “Thank You for The Music” to me. Feeling giddy with the movement and the joy. Singing in the School Choir for some competition and literally feeling the resonance of voices around me – my arm hairs rising and being slightly freaked out by that. Dancing to “Fools Gold” in a village hall in Fife, copying dance moves off the cool kids, wearing a sun-hat indoor & dressed in jeans so baggy I needed two belts to ensure safe upkeep… having sense I wasn’t a little kid any more. Heading up the M6 with my best mate to her Hen Do in her new fancy “I’m a lawyer now” car, top down, singing Wham songs and Billy Joel (even though it was 2000-and-something) and feeling life gets no better than that. Standing in Albert Square in Manchester last year, 1 year on from the bomb, as the crowd sung Elbow’s “One Day Like This” -crying with strangers at the awfulness, the sadness, the resolution of staying united.
Standing stunned at the purity of Suzanne Vega’s live voice, last summer, as she sang songs I had endlessly played on a crappy tape machine in my bedroom – emotion shifting through my body I didn’t fully understand – nostalgia, happiness, melancholy for simpler times….
It is magical, powerful….how lucky we are.