Friday, 14 October 2016

The Means by Which the Soul Flies.

I sometimes become irritated with people who feel the need to analyze music using technical terms and contrived arguments. I find the whiff of ego and artifice displeasing (which might be my loss, of course.)

I don’t mind people analyzing lyrics – I’ve done it myself often enough. Lyrics are just words, and words are things that have both their source and destination in the mind. Music – at least ‘proper’ music – is different; music is launched from somewhere more rarefied than the mind, I think, somewhere perhaps connected with that mysterious faculty called consciousness. I think it more than mere coincidence that in some versions of spiritual doctrine, consciousness is effectively synonymous with the soul. And as it takes off, so does it land.

But, you might argue, surely a competent musicologist can reasonably and convincingly analyze the structure of a symphony or even a phrase within it. Of course, but surely the structure, however brilliant it might be, is ultimately only the framework on which the real essence is hung. The real essence is surely something else.

And so music to me is a giant bird from the realm of magic on whose back you climb, thence to be carried to places where only consciousness can go. And when the journey is done, you return neither better nor worse for the experience, no more knowledgeable but perhaps a little more knowing. Why try to analyze what functions beyond reason?

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