Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bella Musica

Tomorrow is my big road trip. I’ll be driving for 5 or 6 hours, much of it through countryside that was ground smooth and flat during the ice age. Not much to see … the occasional tree, a clump of cows, a few farms dotting the landscape. The company of music is essential on a trip like this.

I’m a rocker girl, and such selection has always been first choice for long hauls for me. But lately I’ve been more interested in how a song can move me on the inside, deeper than toe tapping and seat dancing and hair flinging. Sometimes I’m in a mood for feeling music, not just listening to it.

Have you ever listened to a song that really grabbed you musically, but something about the words wasn’t right? They fell short, or went down the wrong path, or just simply didn’t work for you. That can really take some sparkle out of the symphony. You may have even thought, this music is incredible, but sheesh, I could have written better lyrics than that mess!

I’m not down on vocals – in fact I love them. The human voice is one of the most beautiful of musical instruments. The problem isn’t voice, but language. The problem with language is that it is too limited. Too basic for all that is yearned to be expressed. The writer often struggles with this same hurdle, wrangling for the right words to capture what they want to say. Why is it so difficult?

Because language, in many ways, is too primitive.

I have a section of CDs in my library that are in foreign languages. Some might find it annoying to listen to music that you cannot understand and sing along. But there’s a special niche this category fills in my heart. Spanish, Italian, Celtic … I am not fluent in any of these tongues, but it doesn’t matter. I listen, and the vocals reach me on a much more sensual level. The meaning of the words does not cloud and distort the haunting beauty of the voice. The tones can sweep around me, soak into my heart as the edge of the sea soaks into the sand - and become a part of my energy. Not by their individual definitions, but simply by being.

Many languages will accompany me on my journey tomorrow. I may not understand, but I will comprehend. Sometimes only words which are not defined in our minds deserve the company of melody and harmony.

It is then we can hear the voices of angels.

20 comments:

Mike said...

Well, you have me beat. It just pisses me off when I can't understand the words, but then again...I'm a shallow fool.

Bougie Black Boy said...

You seem like a gal who might like Enya, then switch the station to some Stone Temple Pilot---and enjoy them both, equally.

naive-no-more said...

That's exactly what she is Stephen. Very diverse.

You better make sure you have all "feel good" music with you on your road trip, cuz I don't want to have to cheer your ass up when you get here. ;)

Did you see Elizabethtown? Your post reminded me of that movie.

Brilliant as always!

martie said...

I don't care what you listen to on your road trip....just arrive safe! Looks like I may not be seeing you....my temp is now 101.5 :/

Unacknowledged Genius said...

I LOVED Elizabeth town..I want the soundtrack....and Orlando Bloom.


Have a safe trip, Clew, and ya'll two have a great visit.

Kodijack said...

I am not bi-lingual, but those people whom I know that are bi-lingual have expressed to me several times that they are happy that they know another language because there are things one cannot say in English but can be expressed in another language. Just like before I read your post I would have said that comprehend=understand, but clearly those are not the same, thank you.

Nicole said...

I listen to music for them very same reasons. But if the lyrics fall flat, it's a big let down...especially if the music is incredable.

Do you listen to blues at all? Try John Lee Hooker 'The Healer', he's paired up Santana on that track. It's my one exception to the rule...there really isn't a whole lot going on lyricly (sp?) but the music just takes you to a whole other place.

Ocean said...

That was deep! Thinking I might just find me some spanish music and give it a try. Thanks

Lori said...

I can relate so much to this. I grew up with a brother who was/is a classical pianist/organist and is brilliant in his own right, so music started early in my life. You know I love, love, love Josh and his incredible voice. No worries that we don't understand it all right now. One of these days we'll vacation in Italy and will have it all down pat. Ciao, Bella!

P.S. Have a WONDERFUL time on your trip. You girls are going to have SO much fun!!!! I'm totally jealous!

Rebecca said...

First off: Drive safely. :)

Secondly: Have a blast! I'm so envious of your Rangoon weekend w. Naive & Martie! :)

Third: Yes, I love world music as well. I listen to everything, but I have to say I'm especially drawn to Celtic and Japanese music. There's something so mystical about it, I just love it. :)

Unacknowledged Genius said...

nicole, you're right, the healer is an excellent album

as for world music i like zucchero
in italian or when he sings in english...lovely accent

The Editor said...

Road Trip!!!! I know you'll have an awesome time!

Nelly said...

Have fun butthead!

FTS said...

I can listen to Def Lepard one minute, then plug in Enya the next. Stevie Nicks followed by Gary Morris followed by Celtic interludes. My tastes are wide and varied. My only criteria is that I like it. :)

Kristi said...

Have a great trip and have fun!

I have a friend that I burn music for which Spanish is her first language and I've become fond of some of the music I have burned for her. I keep copies of all of it for myself.

Pete Mitchell said...

YES! YES! YES! YES! I totally agree about language being so limiting sometimes. I'm constantly finding I can't find the words to express my thoughts! At the same time, writing is like a puzzle of sorts: the fun is in putting words and images together in a new way and seeing what grows from it.

And I hope you have a ROCKIN' weekend!!! Crank the stereo and party like there's no tomorrow. That's an order!

bigwhitehat said...

I have to introduce you to some new stuff. We both seem to enjoy many types of music. I have some stuff I know you haven't heard.

joy said...

"Sometimes only words which are not defined in our minds deserve the company of melody and harmony."

I love what you stated here clew. You really do have a way with words and describing your experience from the heart.

You ever listen to Sarah Brightman? Her voice has this ethereal quality that takes you into another dimension. I love her. :)

McSwain said...

Very nice. I love the Gipsy Kings--the passion in that music!

Have a WONDERFUL time! I'll expect to hear all about it when you get back.

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