Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Poetry of Sound
Can you hear a distant drum
Bouncing on the laughter of a melody?
And does the rhythm tell you come come come come,
Does your spirit do a dance to this symphony?
Does it tell you that your heart is afire?
And does it tell you that your pain is a liar?
Does it wash away all your unlovely?
Well are you ready for a brand new discovery…
This is the opening verse of a song by Trinbagonian calypso legend David Rudder entitled Calypso Music (click to hear). Aside from having my favorite opening line of any song, when I hear this song it is akin to a spiritual experience. The words and music affect me on a visceral level, possibly because it is the most poetic adulation of the music of my homeland. Or maybe there is something deeper in the music that speaks to me.
It is an example of how powerfully the art of music can affect us. I’ve heard poetry described as emotions put to words, and I think of music as emotions put to … well… music. When poetry and music collide, commune, we have a form of expression that touches the very core of our being. Sometimes it is impossible to untangle our heartstrings from the guitar strings and distinguish our pulse from the beat of the drum.
Music opens the floodgates of our own creativity. No really. Listening to music activates the creative parts of our minds. This is why if you study while listening to music (instrumentals are best) you learn and retain better; your creative mind helps you put the abstract ideas and technicalities in place. Music also directs our imagination and emotions, the use of which the film industry has mastered. For years movies have used background music to coax the appropriate fear, sadness, excitement, awe and everything else on the emotional spectrum during their scenes making the movie experience profound.
Music is a drug that affects our brain chemistry and shakes our emotional foundations. It can be a balm, a stimulant, even a toxin. So respect the power contained in your mp3 player and stand in awe of the poetry of sound.
(Photo by Kelene Blake)