Music is commonplace to most of us. We listen on our ipods and computers to a plethora of stations on the internet. We listen on the radio when we drive to work. We listen at work. We listen if we go jogging. We listen if we go to the grocery store. Personally, I am no musician. I have dabbled, but there is no mastery in my fingers. I can listen though, and I do almost every chance I get. Quiet is as great a solace as anything on this earth, but music is special.
Like many things in this world, we casually encounter something of vast complexity, most often with little thought. How many times a day do you marvel at the subtly of an internal-combustion engine? Or of the power that water holds over us? Some things are less complicated than others . . . A guitar certainly doesn’t match up to the untold mystery behind the droplets which have journeyed to heaven and yet we drink them every day . . . or does it?
The wood was first a seed, after all. Then it was planted, very likely by a squirrel (diseased, fluffy, tree-rats that they are, they still served a purpose.) Then it was a tree, then a plank . . . then someone thought it suited the lofty purpose of making music. The grain was just so, the color was correct, the type would resonate clearly.
I say music is a lofty purpose, and I believe it. Doesn’t God have angels in heaven . . . singing? Playing stringed instruments and trumpets?
Music touches us at our very soul, so we surround ourselves with it. Quite frankly, most of it is mediocre at best, but still, it is infused in everything we do, I think because we seek that soul wrenching feeling when all the instruments are as one.
There are songs so beautifully composed they move us in our deepest thought and feeling. They take us away from this world and put us in one of peace, where there is nothing but the steady rhythm. Individually, the instruments seem unimpressive. By themselves they might seem substandard or commonplace.
Together they tie up a picture painted with sounds . . . not words . . . this is no thousand words to paint a picture. This is sound conjuring up an image you didn’t know you had. And this image is plucked out by the skillful fingers of musicians, pounding on metal and wood.
Together these musicians, proving their mastery in their chosen arts, are able to tease emotion with sound.
Two, three, four . . . five instruments weave a tapestry. It blinds us to anything else and we must listen for it has touched our soul. We trust these sounds; they will lead us on a journey. Our minds must follow where the music leads and it is an exquisite adventure.
Perhaps there is a voice in there too. If it is the correct piece, that voice is complimented by the sounds. Only a single cord in a human throat, next to the relative diversity of a bass, six, or twelve string guitar. But it is stitched together with the instruments and it tells a story, this time a story we can fully understand, one that is grounded in our world, but the rest . . .
The rest is still a sublime journey, lending mystery, gravity, or perhaps calm, to a story recited in harmony . . . we call it a song.