Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ave Maria

If you know me, you know I'm totally consumed by music. It is one of my life's greatest passions, to be put quite simply. I used to sing when I was a teenager (opera and classical, if you can believe it), and I play a number of instruments.
I quit singing when I was about eighteen, even though I was good. I quit because it was so terrifying to me to sing in front of people...despite that I loved it. I would sing in the car, in the shower, when I was walking somewhere, anywhere, any time. I got disheartened by my sound, though, as I continued to can't sing the "Phantom of the Opera" score and smoke a half pack a day, that's for sure. So....I stopped all together.
Two days ago wasn't unusual- I had written a paper on the Bhagavad-Gita, and I was getting ready to go to work. I was getting a shower, actually, and per usual, I had my mental iPod on random. "Ave Maria", one of my all-time favorites to sing popped into my head. I hadn't sung it in a number of years (despite remembering it perfectly) because I didn't feel that I made it sound beautiful enough to do the song itself justice. But, I'd quit I thought "what the hell? You're in the shower and no one's home to hear you suck if you do. Try." I took a breath, opened my mouth, and sang the first bars. To my surprise, it was loud and clear, good tone (vowels needed work). So, all in all, not bad...and it made me smile. It's time to get the Schubert sheet music out and start practicing again.
I do wonder why I don't become a music teacher. I know a great deal about music- playing, listening, biographies, theory, etc. I love it- it moves me in ways that nothing else can. (I'm the only person I know that bawls uncontrollably when I watch Mr. Holland's Opus.) I do love science, but it doesn't bring me the peace and set me free the way that music can every single time. Science fulfills my need to contribute, to work my mind, to look at the magnificence of Divinity- and fills me with foreboding as I watch humankind march itself into oblivion, knowing that if they knew what I did, things could be better, and that science could validate me, and maybe...just maybe we could save ourselves and everything else. But, music does something to me that I can barely describe. I can literally feel my soul leap out of my chest when I listen to some songs, and I can feel imaginary strings being pulled from deep down in my belly when I listen to Prince play the solo on "While my Guitar Gently Weeps" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction of George Harrison. I'm sure I sound possessed- and thankfully I'm not trying to describe this phenomena during the time of the Inquisition. But, sound literally does this to me. I understand what Beethoven meant when he said that music was man's highest moral authority- it can bend you in ways nothing else can, and there are songs out there that one literally must make themselves worthy of because they are performed from somewhere deep in the primitive soul.
Try it, listen....really, truly sit there and listen- especially to Prince.

And just feel your brain undulate to this:

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