A Fascination: Music

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of sound.  For giving mankind the creativity and the ear for music, so beautiful!  ‘Cuz it is.  Anyone who’s talked to me ever knows of my…obsession.  Sound, in general fascinates me.  It’s so thrilling!  It makes me smile lots. Music goes deeper than words.  It creates feeling.  It is an art; it has its own language; it has its own math and architecture.  That alone fascinates me.

I am the type of person who will start singing for no rhyme or reason.  Or hearing a line of somebody’s will remind me of a song that I’ll have to start singing, at least in my head.  I continually have what appears to be a playlist in my head and I can shuffle from song to song.  Sometimes, I have a song stuck in my head I don’t want there, but I’ll find a new one and start singing it.  I was getting sleepy in a car driving from Milwaukee, WI to Minneapolis, MN, so I sang at the top of my lungs for two hours.  I sang with whatever melody was in my head, though I kept trying to change it.  I guess I’m just weird like that.

When studying the works of great composers, from Beethoven and JS Bach to Holst and Grainger, I stand in awe.  They know what to do with melodies and include every bit of manipulation of them, making the piece sound amazing.  I have tried my hand at it, sure, but I’m not very good at writing like they do (can ANYONE write like they do?  It’s hard!).  And then I think about The Great Composer and how much more He can do with something as simple as a melody.  (THAT makes me smile!)  But, it’s fun to twist a melody around, play it backwards and upside down!  =)  That’s where all the music math and its own language come out.  I’m still learning the language of music, and how to speak it, but like I said, I’m learning.

I love listening to pieces with no words; the feelings inspired by them are simply awesome.  It is super fun to write or do other work while listening to Holst’s The Planets, because it’s like epic background music.  Sometimes, what I’m writing corresponds with the music perfectly.  But then it won’t totally make sense without the music.  I’ve tried to do homework to a non-words playlist of music I like, so I won’t be tempted to sing along.  However, that does not work, as I just want to sit and listen instead.

When I go to a movie, I notice…the music.  Among other things, of course.  The friend who went to go and see the movie with me and I will be talking about the movie, and all of a sudden, I’ll be like, “Did you hear the music in that scene?  It added so much!” usually followed by blank stares, unfortunately.  Once, I did see a movie with a fellow music major and we spent the remainder of the day discussing how perfect the music was for it.  Next time you see the Avengers, for instance, listen to the music during the final battle scene in Manhattan.  (It’s epic.)

In all my unashamed music nerdness with some of my friends who are like me in that way, we found this:

You Know You’re a Music Major When…

… you begin conducting with a piece of uncooked spaghetti.

… the number of credits you’ve earned is higher than the number you get when you add up the ages of everyone in your immediate family — and you’re still not close to graduating!

… the fire alarm in your dorm goes off and you pass the time spent waiting outside trying to figure out what pitch it was — and as soon as you get back in your room you use a keyboard to check and see if you were right.

… you find yourself conducting in public places.

… people in your dorm refer to you as “that guy/girl who’s always running out of here dressed entirely in black.”

… you spend more time in the Music Department than you do in your dorm/apartment.

… you can describe two differences between opera and oratorio, using the word “whereas.”

… it’s 9:30 p.m. and you’re still in class.

… you can play more instruments than the average person can name.

… you and your friends spend several minutes banging on a restaurant table, trying to conduct three against four.

… you have extended discussions analyzing the effectiveness of the music in Disney’s animated features, as well as instrumentation and trends from one movie to the next.

… you try to figure out what song is printed on the cute music napkins, mugs, sweatshirts, etc. you see in stores.

… you consider 15 credits in one semester “taking a break.”

… watched a movie just to listen to the music.

… you see some musicians more then your friends.

We found more, too.  It’s great, cuz it’s super true.  I didn’t include all of them, of course, just the ones that apply to me.  I got them from here.

Anyway, this has turned out to be a longer post than I thought.  I could go on and on about how great music is, but if you haven’t understood some of the things in this post, I understand that me going on wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, either.

“Thank you, Lord, for music.  For privileging us with sound and communication beyond what we can understand.  It’s so cool!”


Anna =)^2

Saturday Smiley: MUSIC

If you’ve read enough of my previous posts, it is evident that 1) I love Jesus; B) I am musically-obsessed; Choo-choo Train) I like to write randomly about random things (hence the subtitle of my blog, “Anna’s Random Writings.”  Cuz that’s what it is).  But LATELY, my music obsession has flared up again.  And, it makes me smile.  (Hence, the Saturday Smiley!)

As I am a junior in college, I have taken most of the music side of my music education major classes.  I LOVE learning what I’ve been learning!  Just this last week, there was a night when I couldn’t fall asleep so….I had seen the Nokia ringtone transcribed, poking fun at the NY Philharmonic violinist who imitated the disruption.  So, I copied it down on music staff paper and rewrote it in retrograde form, inversion, and retrograde inversion. =)

Music is SUCH a broad topic that it can’t be adequately described in just one post, and I’m sorry if this gets long (disclaimer).

So, this week, I have been thinking about the feeling and emotion that music creates.  No other art does this, no other school subject or anything, really.  Something that makes you feel the way the composer did when he wrote it?  Last year, I did an independent study in which I researched music therapy.  Did you know that David of the Bible was the first recorded music therapist?  Although he had another name.  Yeah, he used to play his harp for King Saul (who probly had some sort of disorder…have you READ 1 Samuel?).  Cool stuff!  My own personal releases are writing when words come or playing when notes come.  Mom and Dad got me a drum set for my thirteenth birthday.  They may have questioned it a time or two when I was really mad or something.  If you would like to hear the drum set being played in my house, you might sit outside on a lawn chair or something if it’s a nice day out.  The volume is only slightly dampened.  The piano in our house also was the instrument of some good stuff, and still is when I come home!  =)

I love how there is literally, a song for everything.  I love how in instrumental music, you can feel.  My sister recently made a video for a class—with aid of the background music, you could totally feel the…adrenaline of the scene.  I think pretty much anything can be epic with background music, you know, the instrumental kind.  My personal favorite part is when the low brass or string basses sneak in and play something that is just waiting for something to happen.  Tomorrow, the Augustana Orchestra (of which I’m a percussionist for) is playing a concert—Shostakovitch’s Ninth is one of my favorites on the program!

Anyway, this wasn’t as long as I worried it might.  I stopped myself.  I told my physical therapist last week that deep down, everyone wants to be a music major.  He agreed!  He’s like, “I used to sing.  I wonder what it woulda been like to be a singer instead of a physical therapist.”  Ha!  There is so much more to music than one can hear or see at a glance.  It is a language, and there is a science to it.  Music has its own math, and I never even realized how complex it is until I got to Augie!  It’s crazy, and I love it!

In conclusion, MUSIC is my Saturday Smiley!

Smiling musically, Anna =)^2