Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Learning How to Listen

In What to Listen for in the World, Bruce Adolphe discusses the relationship among four components: ideas, images, words, and music. I have always had an interest in these elements, so I found Adolphe's work fascinating. 

These components are all present in one thing I've enjoyed for years: music videos. Well-made music videos perfectly combine all four elements to create a piece of artwork. And yes, some are more provocative and sexual than others; but there are some really cool videos out there.

Here are some of my favorites:

Strawberry Swing by Coldplay 

Firework by Katy Perry 

Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran

All of these started with a song, then an idea, then a person or a team of people came up with visuals and BOOM, AWESOME MUSIC VIDEO. Obviously, there are bad music videos out there, but the people who make them are still engaged in this creative process (in some way, shape, or form).

Adolphe also writes: 

Music is not merely feelings: 

it is the form and pattern of experience 
the space before words and after 
the echo of dreams  
the axis of energy 
the resonance of action: 
Music is the sum of all our memories, 
even those we have forgotten, 
reborn as gesture and inflection, 
the shape of memory itself (58). 

This really spoke to me. I often associate songs with specific feelings or experiences. For example, the song "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind makes me really happy. I don't know why, it just does. On the other hand, the song "Lips of an Angel" by Hinder makes me sad (for a really embarrassing reason that I am not going to explain on the Internet...) Music makes me feel like I'm not alone. It gives me hope. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel, period. And that's why I find it so important. 

Last, Adolphe comments, “By listening we cross boundaries, come closer to the guts of music, closer to our own music, and to the spinning mystery” (104). We need to listen in order to understand the world and be inspired by it; something easier said than done. 

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