Friday, October 18, 2013


What a big subject. Like laughter the entire world has music. Music raises your spirits and makes you dance. Music calms the soul. Music is used in every ceremony and celebration. Music is the global art. Music can be performed in giant halls or stadiums, on a quiet mountainside or a busy transit tunnel. Music can be played by many or by a single person. Even different cultures can come together using music as a shared language.
There are thousands of variations of music. Everyone has their own particular taste in the sounds that they like. While the rhythms and beats may differ, anyone can learn to love music.
Music is taught in schools. Children can select a certain instrument and with proper training and practice learn to read and perform written notes, either with others or by themselves. Music has it’s own language and theory and can be studied for years to be mastered. Music can also be learned basically in a bedroom and played well enough to entertain the musician.
Music can be written for instruments only or with poetic lyrics. Music can tell a story or bring people together in a spiritual celebration. Music can be ear shattering loud or soft as a kittens’ purr. Music has lead armies into battle, brought a bride down the aisle, or lie a body into the ground.
When did you first listen to music?  Music is all around and playing all the time. Television, radio, churches, schools, and even factories have music playing. Categories are endless with pop, rock, soft, hard, spiritual, bluegrass, and folk, classical…. The list goes on and on.
My first recollection of music was the radio. Leftover big bands playing background music to live shows played through tinny sounding speaker. On black and white television, small groups of musicians were crammed into a tight spot but the recording was never good. Some shows featured music but it was usually outrageous hillbilly or pratfalls to keep the public attention.
Vinyl records could be purchased and spun at various speeds to reproduce everything from a single singer to a full-blown orchestra. There were even radios in cars that could be played through a 3” speaker as you traveled.
Live music could also be attended. The city had an orchestra that played the various familiar classics previously heard on television cartoon shows. The schools even had miniature symphonies but they had a problem staying in key. There were also halls that held dances with live bands keeping the feet moving. Little be known to me until later, there were clubs that allowed musicians and small group perform their own style of music for people who could afford the orchestra.
Personally, I absorbed music until I decided I want to join the band. Not like my friends in middle school who picked up a clarinet or violin, but I was captivated by the rhythm. Purchasing bongo drums I tried to recreate the calypso beat that was introduced to me by folk music. Not having a true drum kit, I turned to the guitar.
Folk music, to me, was a vanilla copy of the hillbilly tunes and sea shanties I had learned before. Most of my recollection was white college boys and girls wearing button down starched clothing playing to the same audience with mellow sing-a-longs. Yet, it was an introduction to other styles of music.
Realizing many of the songs were actually delta blues or Chicago blues or bluegrass turned country, the music was constantly evolving. The audience was also morphing into the social traumas of the day blending in different races and music types.
The music industry was invaded by European influence full of electricity. The music got louder and spread to influence clothing, hairstyles, politics, and most of all gobbled up by the media. A generation came together using music as its umbrella.
The society followed the changing trends in music through television, advertising, fashion, and even sexual freedom. Musical themes presented anger, frustration, warmth, togetherness, hope, love and even comedy with technical innovations allowing music to be carried in your pocket. For every genre there is a musical soundtrack.

Turning off all the electronics I walked outside and put out birdseed. Standing still I enjoyed a natural chorus that has never been written down but has been heard by our species throughout the eons.
This is my latest lady to attempt to enjoy what sound I can make and comfort in the ability to make my own music.

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