Sunday, August 5, 2012

What is the essence of music?

The essence of music is a rather philosophical concept with no real right or wrong, but for a musician to ask the question and find an answer that resonates personally can bring a different depth into the music created.

I had an experience with music that gave me insight into the spiritual value of music. I was driving back from Los Angeles to Fairfield, Iowa and put up camp north of St George in Utah. It was a beautiful place with mountains nearby, sagebrush growing around me with a couple of juniper trees right by the tent. There was a strong wind blowing and as dusk turned into night, I became slightly frightened for various reasons.


Would the wind become a storm and blow the tent away? Would someone with ill intentions walk by the tent? Would a rattlesnake or other dangerous animal attack me? None of these made sense and before setting camp I had seen a beautiful double rainbow in the sunset and a bird had guided me to the site. Nature was supporting me, yet I could feel unease from Her.

I opened my guitar case and was about to play a few songs when I could feel the tension between Nature and the guitar. This instrument was not native to the Land and the people who had brought it with them caused much suffering. Instead, I picked up a Native American flute I had received as a gift from Andreas, my older brother.

Playing the flute made me feel connected in a way the guitar could not. A wooden flute is closer to nature somehow, since it is just a hollow branch with some holes and decorations. I am still learning to play the flute and know a few simple tunes, and these melodies felt soothing to me. It was as if Nature could receive them without the memory of pain.

The next night when I was camping in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, I had the same experience. My guitar didn't resonate as well with my surroundings as the Native American flute. Maybe because I was by myself, Nature was my only audience and thus all my feedback came from Her.

To me, the essence of music is an offering, a way to connect with the Divine, it whatever form we perceive it. Through music I have felt more connected to myself, to other people, to Nature and to God. Music is a language spoken by all of Creation and that is the real strength of it, to me. Even if I play in an empty room, I feel like there is someone listening.

Whether you are a musician or someone who just enjoys listening to music, I would ask you to look deeper into the value and effect of music, as it relates to you. Is there a subtle connection, a unique way of expressing your inner world, or just a feeling you can't put words to?

What is the essence of music to you?

Read Minca Borg's answer to this question in her blog.

5 comments:

  1. and I like the picture of sunset that you put up!

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  2. I often ask myself about music and how is it, actually, some kind of magic.

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  3. There is a beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love in music. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.

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  4. The essence of music to me is that it is expression of a feature of the natural world that is widely manifest and I like to call that feature "periodicity". Throughout history we can see how sequences of events as they unfold by their progression through the space-time continuum oftentimes will repeat. The periodicity of the seasons is an example that comes readily to mind. In my belief this was no accident. That is why in my opinion music is about communication on the highest level. Mankind became a living soul at creation and he was also given a spirit. Music is essentially the window to our spirit which I believe will never cease to exist.

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