How would you describe the feeling of love, or losing a beloved one? How could one express depression, anger, greatness or the feeling of unimportance? Doubt, worry, smartness and that little smile on someone’s cheek? Can you describe being alone, feeling ecstatic or feeling as an outlier? The fortunate thing in life, that we have to say nothing, because music can express all of the above. So why do many people never hear these words in music?
In this article I will explain things through music. I’m right now listening to Tom Tykwer’s Cloud Atlas End Title… and you should too.
The high pitch of a piano, slowly but surely describing the vastness around us. With their eloquent sound, each note represents a dot on an invisible map of the universe and meaning. The connection between them? Silence. Isn’t it beautiful? The sound in itself is nothing, yet paired with nothing it is the very essence of genuine beauty. It is the very essence of everything.
Are you ready for the rollercoaster?
All you can hear in the beginning is the undulating tune of a single piano. The abyss between them is obviously there and yet you feel certain, that it won’t fall down, that the music goes further rising and rising till it reaches the peak, where even at it’s climax the music isn’t intrusive. Feels almost like an old person telling you a story, yes a wise old man making you understand your existence and your relation to everyone around you, and suddenly music stops being just music. It becomes real, something without boundaries. Music becomes a tool for saying things you couldn’t otherwise.
Just like the story of Cloud Atlas showing you the invisible connections between our lives and other people’s lives, the music emphasizes this feeling of interconnection. You hear the notes attached to one another, that one cannot exist without the other, that harmony is achieved by this network of everything. It’s a long track, but the linearity brings order to the individual notes, forming a tale like the movie itself. This piece I think ends with a question, with the last note being a long decrescendo, asking you: What’s next?
I quickly recover from being in awe of the music as I change to the track: Travel To Edinburgh… try it yourself.
It’s a completely different setting, you can feel the rush of the music, like a rat running through the attic, and suddenly at the sixteenth second you hear Bach’s Toccata passing through your mind bringing the meaning to light. This music is about discovery, learning and the ever growing curiosity of someone looking for answers. Like if your mind was made of strings (it actually is), and the meaning of the music would twang on them, making them resonate to the truth.
The sound helps to bring out your emotions, almost magnified. You self-reflect on everything you feel, and for that short period of time you feel above yourself, you float on your feelings and you let them push you to different directions with every coming current. This is the true power of music. On a magnificently deep level it let’s you focus on a specific set of emotions, and with enough practice you’ll find the meaning in each and every piece.
One last track and I’ll let you discover these for yourself. Building the Raft from Johan Söderqvist from the movie: Kon-Tiki.
The movie is about the journey of Thor Heyerdahl, a norwegian explorer and ethnographer, who traveled for 101 days and over 4300 miles across the Pacific. Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. His aim in mounting the Kon-Tiki expedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available to those people at the time, that there were no technical reasons to prevent them from having done so.
A piano again, coming up and down as excitement grows on you. One can hear curiosity, and the same questions we asked, when we were children. What if? Why not and why? The music gets faster and you hear the sails catching the wind, making the raft ride even the biggest waves. Making our dreams conquer even the greatest of all horizons: the impossible.
This is what music is about, if you listen to the right track, you can feel anything and even more. It can make you feel truly powerful, faithful, loving, in a word: everything you can be, at once. Music is the tool with which we can reach to our deepest parts, and lift the weights that were there for too long holding us back. So please dare to talk about your music, and if you are worried, what others might say never forget that:
“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” /Friedrich Nietzsche/