Smoph's musings

Just my thoughts on the world

The rhythm of life

I have never been a great believer in the power of music or sound, especially in a healing or therapy sense. But recently my friend philophosphorescence made me think about sound when describing how the sound of her own heart beating reminded her of how vitally alive she was.

There is nothing more intimate, more sacred, than listening to someone else’s heartbeat. Your head upon their chest, ear resting above their heart, home to the theoretical seat of our soul, the driving force of our lifeblood. There, you feel safe, soothed and cherished. It probably harks back to the womb, where your mother’s regular bass heartbeat was the constant and comforting reminder of your existence, the music of life if you will.

I also find the sound of the sea soothes me when I am distressed or angry. The constant rhythm, the pounding of the waves or the soft hissing as they skirt up the sand, removes the tension I build within me. It is as if it washes it away. Whether this derives from the watery sounds of the womb or not, it is a extremely utilised class of sounds, with many musical pieces including water sounds. And for whatever reason, this seems to be soothing to many people.

The very idea of manipulating through music is ever present in media, from websites to movies, where the music tells us how to feel and how to think. I wonder if this association of music to feelings is programmed into us from an early age through exposure to television and movies, so later, we will know what we should feel. Is it also cultural? In Mexico, are their understandings of the music of doom very different to what a conventional Western director might employ?

I resist the idea of musical manipulations, but when it comes down to its bare bones, the jangling jungle rhythm of life is musical. Music is found universally, no matter what its form. How can I continue to deny its presence and action in everyday life?

For some people, music is their life, but I prefer to think to myself that all life is music, and we should all remember to dance.

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  1. the soundtrack of life is always there, even in silence!music manipulating emotion is so interesting. sometimes i despise movie soundtracks that instruct me how i should be reacting – usually so forcefully it’s like being hit over the head… but it’s interesting just the same. surely cultural conditioning can’t be the *only* reason certain sounds elicit certain emotions in us?i was on a music scholarship through high school and we learnt all about this – how major keys were ‘happy’ and minor keys were ‘sad’. how the flute was used to make angelic sounds, the clarinet was the clown of the orchestra, the basson was the fat drunk uncle stumbling around the party, the piccolo was the cheeky imp, etc etc. still doesn’t explain the “why?” though, does it.

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