Sometimes when I’m blogging I listen to music, mellow piano or guitar instrumental music. Usually I do it to drown out the sound of the television playing downstairs, but every time I play it, I find myself momentarily distracted from the writing by the beauty of the music. It moves something in me that I can’t name but am nonetheless grateful for. It is evocative like few other things are. It’s music that resonates in my soul.
In order to write about it, I need to be able to name what a gift music is. It is one of those things that can transport me to another place, another plane of existence. It has the power to bring me to tears, both by its overall beauty as well as the poignancy of a particular piece of music. This love has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, though I really came into my own understanding of the power of music when I became a musician. As a singer-songwriter, playing my guitar and singing, I found my true voice, being able to sing about things I could not speak about, expressing feelings for which I had no avenue of expression.
I find that minor chords tend to resonate in my soul when I have need to release difficult emotions, like the angry song I wrote after my mother died and I was angry at God. I play major seventh chords when I am feeling mellow and dominant seventh chords when I’m feeling bluesy or somewhat whimsical. There likely isn’t any human emotion that can’t be translated into music. The beauty of many of the instrumental pieces that I appreciate listening to is that without a single word, the music expresses what I am feeling. It is truly a gift.
As I think about these 40 days, I think a bit about the soundtrack for the season. There would no doubt be days that were filled with melancholic minor chords, sounds of sadness and suffering. But what kind of music would accompany the ministry of Jesus? Surely there would be dramatic music associated with his major miracles, as well as uplifting, carefree, less ponderous music as he interacted with children or taught the beatitudes. The triumph of his arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the deep anguish in the garden of Gethsemane, the agony of torture and crucifixion, the exultation of the resurrection would all play out with symphonies as well as lone, lonely instruments.
This 40-plus day journey allows us to explore our inner life, to resonate with the songs of our souls. What music moves you to tears and why? Is it “happy” music, or does it border on melancholy, or does it depend on your mood? For me it is all of the above and then some. Recently I read an article about being able to see music. Now it can be experienced by sound, sight, and touch. No matter how we experience it, we each have the opportunity to be touched by it. That is a gift that I do not take for granted. And so it is.