Nietzsche said life without music is a mistake. I usually don’t agree with Nietzsche as his moustache always seemed suspicious to me, but this time he was right.
Why is music so important to us, to each and every one of us as human beings, as animals? What is it that music does, what is the scope of this art form? Is it to make us happy, is it to make us melancholic, is it to energize us? All the answers above are right, but that is just the tip of the iceberg, or if I want to be polite, a very incomplete explanation.
A friend posted on facebook the equation “no music = no life” which started a small discussion as I usually refuse to accept simple equations without knowing how he got to that summery of facts. This is why I was never any good at math. Asking yourself why is a zero a zero and how does it feel about it takes too much time when you have to write your final exams.
So why IS music so important to us? Music does make us feel, and each kind of music makes us feel something different. Mozart will make you feel one thing, BB King another, Coltrane will make you feel this way, U2 that way. Feelings are important, and we all have them whether we want to or not, yes, even the corporate suits have them. Sort of.
Music touches the feelings that are inside us and drags them , clutching arpeggios to them, putting shackles of sweet melodies around them and pulling them into the light, pushing them out of us with strong bass rhythms and electric guitar riffs.
Feelings are very powerful, we all know that, and feelings are something bad, something that you should not show. Society has taught us that idea when we were little. ok, maybe not something ‘bad’ but something private. Like picking your nose. We all do it, but you don’t do it in public.
Little children have no problem showing their feelings, it comes naturally, the cry a lot, they laugh a lot, they sulk a lot, they love a lot. When you grow up you are forced to put up walls of defense, shields that keep the feelings in, that keep the other people out. If you show feelings you are vulnerable, and you will hurt. Sooner or later. Hurt is a feeling too, so obviously we want to avoid it.
The problem with these shields is that they do keep the feelings in. bottled up, like a pressure cooker inside of you, building up and pushing with incredible force on the delicate lining of your soul, cracking the walls of defense like a cheap nuclear plant. And it never ends well. Road rage, mental breakdowns, addictions, or just going postal and starting to shoot in all directions.
Music is the antidote to that pressure cooker. It relieves your soul by letting feelings flow out of it, by tickling your mind with sweet songs, classical concertos or loud layers of rock and roll, up to you, it helps you open that valve for a second and let some of the steam get out, leaving you in a much healthier state of mind, and a much more stable personality that without having to fight the pressure between outer layers of your persona and the inner depth of your soul finally has the time and energy to be…you.
I can think of at least five pieces of music that always make me cry. I can also think of at least five different books with the same effects, and many many visual art pieces with the same effect. I know at least two conductors who need a towel, not a tissue, when they perform certain works. And you feel so much better afterwards.
Life without music is a mistake. If only for the basic reason that it is like living without ever going to the bathroom. Not a pleasant prospect, is it? Music has that effect, emptying the surplus feelings, making room for new feelings.
Listen to music. to good music. to effective music. if only for your health. Both mental health and physical health, as stress and bottled up feelings do tremendous damage to your body if you don’t take care of them and learn to let that steam get out once in a while.
Choose you genre, choose your style. Whatever works for you.
but remember, it IS for your health. Not a luxury, not for fun.
For your health.
And now, you will excuse me, but the music I had playing in the background finished, and I have to choose what piece I will put next. Am contemplating between tom waits an Bach violin concerto in D. oh, the hell with it, I will just listen to both one after the other….
it’s for my health, and you don’t save on your health.
artist, photographer, poet, writer