Obviously Almost Nothing

I had a topic in mind to write for my first music post, but waking up with a splitting headache and the makings of a rather fine sinus infection have caused me to postpone that one. It was making my head hurt to think about it. But since I don’t want to stumble just out of the gate, I thought I’d write instead on my own musical history and my qualifications for writing about music. Ready? Here goes…

6th & 7th Grade Orchestra – Trumpet
For about six months in college – Piano
Randomly – Harmonica
Present – Guitar

So, yeah. You can tell from that list just how much I know about music. The answer is obviously almost nothing. I used to listen to the guys in the church band talk about their songs and it was literally like another language. (Yes, literally. Why else would people talk about reading music?)

But, for all that, I still love to listen to music. Maybe I love it more because it’s such a mystery to me how the musicians pull it off.

I love the voices and the instruments and the way they combine to create an atmosphere and bring out emotion. I love trying to figure out what the lyrics mean (sometimes the more puzzling the better). But I also love it when the song says exactly what I’m thinking and helps with that stuttering attempt to say just what I want to say.

I’ve seen through the walls of this kingdom of dust…
   felt the crucial revelation.
But the broad streets of the heart and the day-to-day
   meet at a blind intersection.

I don’t want to be lonely, I don’t want to feel pain.
I don’t want to draw straws with the sons of Cain.
You can take it as a prayer if you’ll remember my name.
You can take it as the penance of a profane saint.

   Knock the scales from my eyes.
   Knock the words from my lungs.
   I want to cry out;
   It’s on the tip of my tongue

Sometimes a song can do just that. I guess I just want to think more about it, and write about it if I can.


3 Responses to “Obviously Almost Nothing”

  1. 1 glennal March 10, 2008 at 9:58 PM

    I guess I should have asked this question: “Have you ever had this experience where a song said perfectly what you were struggling to find the words for?” Any examples?

  2. 2 Ben March 12, 2008 at 6:33 AM

    I know exactly what you’re talking about, although I’m not sure if can think of a good example right now. Most of the time it’s a song I hear that makes me say, “I’ve felt that way before!” or “I’ve never thought of it like that, but I know exactly what they mean and it’s great!” Oh, I do know one good example: Rich Mullins’ “Hard to Get.”

    As far as your qualifications go, I may disagree with you:) I think you’re rather well qualified b/c, as you expressed in your blog, you’ve grasped how the music AND lyrics go together to form a whole, an experience. Because you are learning to think well; because you are reading more and better, especially in poetry; because your mind is being renewed and transformed, you are able to receive the subtle references and overtones offered in good music. In short, your are perhaps capable of more appreciation than many others.

  3. 3 glennal March 12, 2008 at 4:32 PM

    Thanks my friend. I thought of two things from what you said. One: I guess my point in all that was that I’m not a professional. I don’t really know how to create music on my own. So I’m approaching it more as just a listener than anything else. Two: I wasn’t very careful to define what I meant by “music”. I might try to do that in the post next week. Maybe. Thanks for the thoughts. They really do help me to work through things and see where I’m not thinking well.

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