Monday, January 10, 2011

Music To Live By

There is an interesting article in this morning's paper about a study on music and its effect on the brain.  They did a study?  I could have told them some of the very stuff they discovered.

I have been known to 'shush' people in my car and even in my home if music is playing and a particular piece of music is approaching that I want to hear and not be distracted from.  Rude?  Well, yes, but for me, music is one of the most pleasurable aspects of my life.

Starting in elementary school, I used to walk to school early in the morning to have voice practice before classes started.  I had choir until I reached high school when I decided that since I was not pursuing a music career, I needed to drop those electives and study stuff like chemistry and physics instead.

My interest in music tends toward the jazzy, smoky nightclub, top of the piano chanteuse style and classical.  I've never had an interest in rock and roll or its successors in the 'pop' genre.  I will admit to having been to two Barry Manilow concerts and once got dragged to a reunion of the band 'Traffic' (OMG, it was the worse event ever, and not just because I had no idea who they were.) 

So, when I read the article I decided to grab a CD and play it to see how it affected the rest of the reading of the newspaper.  I put on Gata Barbieri's 'Caliente'.  The music was already going in my mind when the first note sounded.  I think I know the CD by heart even though it has been more than a few years since I have played it. 

During the first two numbers my butt was bouncing on the chair along with the requisite 'head bobbing'.  I was trying to do the Sudoku puzzle and I swear it took me twice as long as usual.  But then I knew that the third cut was getting ready and my brain turned to mush. 

The song is 'Europa' by Carlos Santana.  (OK, I saw him in concert at his 'Supernatural' tour, before the album became a 'must-have'.  I had four fourth row seats I won in a drawing and had a difficult time finding anyone who wanted to go.)  The guitar solos are replaced by Gato's saxophone and it is definitely a 'shush' song.  I just wanted to close my eyes and float.

I could not imagine my life without music.  Yet, I have attended music events where people talk all the way through them as though the performance is the background for their own little party.  I've had to endure people snoring at the DSO.  I am not sure which scenario is worse.  Well, the guy sleeping can't hear my 'shush'.

There are wonderful quotes about music.  One of my favorites is:
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. - Victor Hugo
But you have to love the one from Oscar Levant (you must hear him play 'Rhapsody in Blue'), because I can definitely relate: 
You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow. ~Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket
If you wish to read more of these, click here:  Quotes

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