The power of music and art -embrace it!
“I think it’s good if a song has more than one meaning. Maybe that song can reach far more people.” Syd Barret, Pink Floyd
Let’s fly away beyond the logical part of our brain and enter the world of the unknown - our emotions. Should we really try to rationalize music and say that it only has one meaning? Isn’t it better to say that music captivates us in a way that is the only right way for us?
Relaxing or painful melodies?
Music triggers different emotions. Soothing sounds of Andean pipe flute in The Flight of Condor (El Condor Pasa) can make you feel relaxed, like floating in the air on condor’s wings. On the other hand, this melody can touch you so much that you almost feel pain-the pain that is rushing into your soul and you feel an absolute sadness in every part of your body. There is no other escape but crying. There was no warning-you just had to let it go! We are not certain what emotions we are experiencing while listening to a song or melody. You can hear that music is sad, but it doesn’t have to affect you and make you feel sad. But if the song does provoke sadness you don’t need to fight it- just embrace it and cry your eyes out!. You can enjoy sad tunes, even though you are pouring out with tears. The question is – why music provokes different emotions? Maybe we will be able to answer this when we finally manage to understand our emotional world. (If we ever manage to succeed in this)
Different artists provoke different emotion with the same or similar melody
Imagine listening to Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic), and floating in the sound of violins weeping for the loss of the composer. It is colored by sadness, but still, you enjoy the performance of the brilliant orchestra. On the other hand, my non-professional interpretation of the song The Garden (Einsturzende Neubauten) has led me to conclude that after the song finishes the gates of hell will open! The melody is ominous, warning us the end is near, accompanied by the weeping sounds of the violins (again my amateur comparison to the violins in the Cantus- they really sound similar). But horror and fright are provoked instead of sad but beautiful feelings. The shrieking and ear-piercing ending of the song (magnificently done by the singer) really gets your bones chilled. So, the conclusion might be that music can evoke a different range of emotions, starting from pleasurable to disgusting or scary ones.
You cannot escape when music touches the gate of your soul
When you dive into the breathtaking melody of the violinist Nemanja Radulovic’s interpretation of the Theme from Schindler’s list, the feelings of agony and horror grab your soul so intensely that you can’t escape.
You can almost see yourself facing death in the Holocaust.
The haunting but at the same time, the sweet sound of the violin provokes powerful heartthrobs while remembering the terror. But, if you haven’t seen the movie, this deeply expressive melody can also make you drift away in your own perfect world without any worries.
But, you will definitely shed a few tears. The power of love songs – why are they so popular?
Why do we say – “Oh this song is definitely about me”?
Why do we listen to sad love songs, when we get heartbroken?
There is no real answer. Music is a language of emotions represented differently that barge into the soul without limitations and warnings- poetry accompanied with sound- the best way to say something you don’t want to say.
But still, most people can relate to this and connect emotionally while thinking – “Yes I understand how the artist is feeling”.
I could conclude by saying that emotions are universal. The hypnotizing sound of Bjork’s “Come to me”, invites you to actually leap into the arms of this melody and never feel sad or heartbroken again.
Imagine the sound as the invisible hands, slowly embracing your whole body, making you feel safe, without explaining anything. No words, just happiness.
And for that microsecond, someone truly understands you and accepts you for who you are. Your heart is whole again.
Nostalgia about the better times Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were here”, can trigger the feeling of nostalgia, the memory of somebody you lost but who you could truly call your soulmate.
Even though originally this song has no romantic connotation and was written as a lament over the tragic destiny of the fifth member of the band, the slow and melancholic melody shifts you into the times when you shared your life with that special person but also reminds you that you are no longer together.
The feeling of safety and wholeness The slow and soothing sounds of the bass guitar in “Nothin’s Gonna Hurt you Baby” (Cigarettes After Sex) evokes feelings of peace and calmness even though our heart has been shattered into thousands of pieces.
We feel reassured, and get the message that we will never be hurt again.
Accompanied with lyrics -“As long as you’re with me, you’ll be just fine” this melody mesmerizes you completely!
Or on the other hand, it makes you truly believe that somewhere in the world there is that second part of you, that Jin to your Jang, that special someone that will make you whole.
Lingering in that powerful emotion, for 5 minutes can really make you happy.
Giving way to those emotions helps us forget the fact that we might never find a soulmate – which is fine because, in the end, that’s life. “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness” — Bertrand Russell How to comprehend this quotation?
Should we give way to these ecstatic and overwhelming emotions of happiness when we are in love?
What follows after?
Are we punished to feel desperate after our heart is broken just because we enjoyed the split second of happiness? Or is settling for less even worse punishment?
Or is it all just an illusion?
I must say there is no true answer to this.
Whatever is true for you, music can be your allay in escaping from reality and finding that missing piece. It’s like dreams, which can, of course, present nightmares, but generally, dreams are an altered reality, the perfect reality for us, a reality of fulfilled fantasies and positive emotion – happiness.
But, that’s a different story. Does science play a role here?
The music shifts us in the world of emotions we never knew existed.
Feeling depressed can easily switch to feeling joyful by simply playing our favorite song.
That’s how music easily influences us on a level we can’t explain for real. Is it connected to the release of dopamine in our brain?
Do we get addicted to the song so much, that we won’t feel relief unless we play it hundred times? And then one more time again? We will have to ask the scientists.
But the scientific explanation behind the question of why music traps us so easily is not really relevant here.
The bottom line is that it does do it – science or not, magic or not – believe in whatever you want.
However, not everybody can feel the emotions I described above. Some will say that another type of music can make them feel some emotions, and others say that they feel nothing at all. But for those of us who do feel it, when experiencing a stir of emotions, evoked by music, we are drawn into our own personal space and feel amazed.
The feeling of amazement is accompanied by our sensitivity to appreciate the greatness of human talent.
We get overwhelmed by such a great power that moves our soul and makes us come undone.
Thank you for reading this post.
Now over to you: Questions
1. How did you like the post about the power of music?
2. Were you able to relate to the ideas of how music evokes different emotions?
3. Would you like to find out more about this topic?
4. Check out what is on your current playlist – What does it say about you? Looking forward to your comments below…