Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Power of Music

In college, I was an avid reader of Herman Hesse novels. The romanticism and imagery struck chords within me, as did the somewhat lonely, alienated characters in many of his books.

The story is about a middle-aged loner named Harry Haller who is also a writer. My memory is sketchy on many of the story’s details now, but one scene is especially vivid. Haller, who is renting a room, has become the object of attention for the curious nephew of the landlady. One evening the youth follows Haller out to see where he goes on his evening walks. He follows Haller and ends up in a music hall which Haller enters and the boy as well.

The older man is a troubled soul carrying a weight on his shoulders, but in the music hall the music washes over him, lifting his spirit and bringing a radiance to his face as for a space in time he transcends his sorrows.

This image came to mind yesterday as I listened to Bill Withers’ Give Me The Beat Boys.

GIVE ME THE BEAT BOYS

Day after day I'm more confused
But I look for the light through the pouring rain
You know that's a game that I hate to lose
Now I'm feeling the strain
Ain't it a shame?

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
And drift away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
And drift away

Beginning to think that I'm wasting time
I don't understand the things I do
The world outside looks so unkind
I'm counting on you
To carry me through

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
And drift away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll
And drift away

Here's a journal note I scribbled in 1993: Music is one of the more fantastic gifts of God. It lifts the soul on wings to ethereal inner spaces. Nothing more effectively breaks life’s monotonous hold on us, transporting us to the portals of paradise. How do musicians and composers do it? From nothing & emptiness they bring forth combinations of sounds, melodies, themes, so pregnant with feeling it seems an inexplicable mystery. Rainbows of sound, trembling with life, causing our hearts to break open with rapture, or sweet sorrow. ~June 30, 1993

Music has special powers, and whatever form it takes it's comforting to be swept away in it. Here's a link to another article, the power of music to comfort and heal.

Have a great St. Patrick's Day all ye Irish.... and Unification Day if you be Italian. May your day be filled with song.

1 comment:

ENNYMAN said...

Just got a phone call that Dobie Gray wrote and sang this song called "Drift Away." .... Funny that the lyrics are also atributed to Bill Withers in other lyrics sites. Anyone know the story?