Wednesday, June 03, 2020

The Power of Music

I like all kinds of music, but I don’t pretend to know anything about it. The one music theory class I took pretty much went over my head. But, what I do know is how different kinds of music affect me. I know what makes me happy, what gives me energy, what annoys me, what agitates me and what calms me down and helps me to focus.

The U.S. military certainly felt music had power when they tried to force Noriega out of the Vatican embassy in Panama in 1989 by continuously blasting all sorts of music through loud speakers directly at the building, at a deafening volume, around the clock. I probably would have surrendered after a few hours because really loud music, even stuff I like, grates on my nerves. But he stuck it out for a very long time. Eventually, the military stopped the music and sometime later he surrendered. You can read more about that here.

There is some music that, shall we say, I haven’t yet learned to appreciate. I walked into a greeting card store once where I found the background music so annoying that I couldn’t concentrate on the cards so I walked out without buying anything and went somewhere else.

Back in 2014, I wrote a blog post here on Type M about writing to music. Basically, I said that I could only write fiction to certain kinds of music, mostly instrumental. I’ve discovered in the years since then that the kinds of music I can listen to while writing has broadened to including oldies from the 60s and 70s, music that I grew up with. I'm not sure what brought on the change. Perhaps I've gotten more confident in my writing.

I haven’t been the calmest person lately, as I’m sure is true of many people right now. I’ve been having trouble focusing enough I can write so I’ve been actively using music to calm myself down enough I can get some work done. My favorite right now is harp music, which really lessens my agitation.

So, what about you all? How does music affect you?

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

I could write about 52 blog posts on that subject! Any of the performing arts are such powerful expressions of the human condition. They are an expression of emotion through words, sounds or movements. I could not live without music.