Thursday, August 11

our need for music

Been busy here, fellow carbon-based life forms. Will try to post one *good* post a week during the school year.
So many things I could post about: my upcoming birthday, the ban on DDT and malaria, the decay of popular culture, music, what love really is, or I could post a recipe for chocolate milk which will make you die. (In a good way, that is, not a bad way!)
Well, I think I shall have to

                                               ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
(being rather a perfectionist, I HAD to make the divider another color!)

Music: It can feed your soul or kill it. It can change hearts or harden them. It can get your adrenaline pumping, or bore you half to death.*

Why does the human mind seem to need music? It isn't essential for life, and neither can we eat it. The answer may lie in the fact that men (and here I mean the entire race of man, not only the male portion of it) do not consist of merely their physical bodies. We are the (proud) possessors of immortal souls as well, created by a higher being as was the body.  And this soul needs food as much as our bodies do. No, we can't feed our brains cheeseburgers. In fact, the brain exercising and soul growing is in fact the hardest part of being human. It is much easier to change our physical bodies then to change our hearts. Thus, it would stand to reason that feeding our souls nourishing meat and drink would also require more mental work than not feeding it, and staying the way you are now for eternity.

But I return the subject at hand (and not wander off into a theological and metaphysical** quandary), my hypothesis of why we need (and, to assuage that need, create and perform) music, is that "real" music feeds our souls. And by "real" music, I mean hard music. Classical music,*** generally, or any true or beautiful music which may not appeal to you at first, depending on your level of education, peers, or family.

Forgive me for using a cliched example, but this could be compared**** You could think of classical (or difficult) music as the meat, or in a vegan's case, soy protein, of the diet. And the more vapid, less deep music, or "music" as the case may be, as dessert, candy bar, marshmallow, poison, or everything else.

Or think of it this way: If you can train your ears to enjoy deeper things: good literature (as opposed to light-n-fluffy reading, Dick and Jane, or romance novels*****), great music (hey, there has to be a reason it has survived so long!), healthier food (your body needs to eat sometimes too) or harder things in general, you can still enjoy the less fluffy stuff (sometimes).
 But if you are only trained to the fluffy (sometimes in the complimentary sense)) stuff, you will have a hard time understanding the deeper stuff. 

Which will you choose?

And as a final note, your soul's worth lies in your own hands. It is your own choice what you make of yourself; whether you feed your soul with the good stuff, the meat and drink, the soy protein****** which will enlarge you mind, or keep on stuffing the junk food into your mind, the effects of which may not be visible right away, but will eventually accumulate in something far worse than a sick body: moral and mental decay!



*For instance, country or pop music.
**What a fun word to say: metaphysical! I <3 long words.
***Classical music hasn't actually been proven to make  you smarter, but it can't hurt IMHO. And it doesn't distract you from your work with silly lyrics.
:thumbsup****.....Always a good thing. Especially with chocolate or frosting. 

***** "Oh George, marry me, darling, or I shall throw myself off this cliff!"
******Yuck. Save soybeans, eat more cow. ;-) 

(These footnotes were fun to write!)

OKAY. Now that I have attempted to convince you of the importance of "real" music in the grand scheme of things, I feel liberated to jabber on about my personal music preferences.

Never having been much exposed to more popular and recent music as a young child, I grew up thankfully old-fashioned in my music tastes. Now that I am older, the more I see of popular music  today (2011) the less I am impressed with few exceptions. Some of it seems to be a sort of opiate of the masses, keeping them distracted from bigger issues, and some of it is just obscene, and some of it is just dumb, at least to me.

For classical composers, my two hands-down favorites are Beethoven, and Mozart. (NO, I did NOT forge their signatures. I got them off Wikipedia)

For me, Beethoven portrays the most timeless passion, strong beauty and mystery in his music. His themes are always fresh and new sounding, never dated. My particular favorite of all of his works I have listened to thus far is his Piano Concerto #4. It reminds me of the power and inscrutability of the ocean. His pieces are rendered even more amazing by the fact that he was deaf when he wrote some of them! Personally, Ludwig Beethoven was said to be a strange and turbulent character, proof that God can work through all of us! 
I'm planning on listening to every single one of his symphonies. No, stupid, not all at once.

And Mozart's music is just....beautiful. His music with its often incredibly melodies reminds me of a dancer, light and airy on her feet, skipping through high soprano pieces and darker, heavier pieces with perfect ease. His music sounds like his signature looks. And I am a fan of some of his opera music (from, at least those I have listened to!) Being a kind, thoughtful person,I will post links to Voi, Che Sapete (one of my favorite pieces to sing) and L'ho perduta, me meschina (another fun piece to sing). I can't say I've listened to a ton of Mozart; will have to sometimes.

Chopin is nice for something different.

On to singers: I can't say I have a favorite singer. I do enjoy opera, which while not for everyone, is thoroughly dramatic, tragic, romantic, melodramatic (I enjoy amateurly over-acting scenes) and beautiful. 
Favorite pieces at the moment:

Una Voce Poco Fa from the Barber of Seville (Rossini) as sung by Maria Callas.
Casta Diva from Norma can't remember who composed it?!
Nessun Dorma from Turandot 
O Mio Babbino Caro 

Anyway, I also like a select few Broadway musicals: namely, My Fair Lady and Man of La Mancha.  The former because it is hilarious, and the latter because it reminds me of these goofy goats, and I like the music!

I listen to jazz with der Vater sometimes too, which is okay, but puts me to sleep, sadly.

But my absolute overall just plain FUN music HAS to be Gilbert and Sullivan. Hilarious, extremely fun to both sing and act, and witty lyrics and also alliterative agony. 

What music makes you, dear readers, the most happy?

Auf Weidersehn!

~ Diana

"Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing."
Psalm 100:2

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