By Lars Peter Schultz
Any of those answers are probably correct and you could make many more that are valid. If you decided to make one single answer that would fit all music you, would be in trouble. Such a single answer could be correct for you personally or one of your personalities, but other persons would have other answers.
Is music a lot of black dots on white paper?
Is music production of sound waves?
Is music a blend of melodies, harmonies and rhythms?
Is music the art of expressing emotions and feelings?
Is music the song of the shaman?
Is music vibrations of the soul?
Is trance inducing sound mystery music?
If you decided that music is connected with sound, people would agree,
but they would need something more in order to feel that you
are really talking about music. Some persons place themselves close
to a waterfall and say that the sound of the falling water is beautyful
music, but notice that it is an alive person that experiences that music,
so the magic of life is part of it.
Expressions of life
The magic of life is especially strong when live music is performed. The degree of life can be very different; you can attend two concerts with the same piece of music performed, and yet one concert might be rather boring and the other one might be a fantastic experience. The life that is carried through via the music becomes a vital part of the music. If the music is played lifelessly one would think that not much music is actually happening. Note that the term "life" includes all possible emotions, feelings, moods and inspirations that you can think of, not just the "happy" ones. So if a song of heavy grief was performed with an intense feeling of heavy grief, it would be a very alive performance. And oddly enough - even though the subject was grief - one would be happy because of the intensity and the strong feeling of life.
Courage to feel
Many people in our society do not dare to feel strong feelings and emotions. They lock the door to that part of their mind and as a result become less happy. Sometimes music (and other art forms) can open the door. To actually experience those feelings and emotions, allowing them to be present, can be a big relief and an incredible affirmation of life. Have you ever noticed that a person radiating great joy often has very alive emotions and feelings?
In many music scores you will see no indication of what kind of moods the music expresses. Often that would be a limitation that doesn't belong to the score, because a lot of music works contain many different moods. One day a piece of music gives a feeling of sorrow and the next day a feeling of bliss. Off course there is also music that gives the same feeling every time it is performed.
A special thing regarding a piece of music is that it involves a performer, e.g., a different artist than the composer, unless the composer is also the performer and/or the conductor. The performer gives the music a new touch, a new dimension. Much music gives space for an unlimited number of interpretations even if it is the same notes that are played at every performance.
If you are a performer that has practiced a lot with attention on playing the correct notes as well as drilling the technical aspects on your instrument, you have created an ability to play the music. This ability can be a bridge on which emotions, feelings, moods and inspirations come to life. Invite your creative powers to dance with the music.
Copyright 1998 Lars Peter Schultz
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