"Dive in with your eyes closed
For the life you were born to claim
And the water will be paralyzed
By the courage you contain
And the flutter of your earnest heart
It will fill the silent seas"
~ Ryan O'Neal
"In some of my research on cochlear implants, I learned that when they are turned on for the first time, patients often say the sound is kind of 'digital' or 'mechanical' sounding, which is entirely normal. I guess the ears and brain eventually normalize the signal and things begin to sound more natural. I thought that was entirely fascinating, so I made it a part of my song."
~ Ryan O'Neal, from "HearingI & How It Was Made"
The universe began with our eyes closed.
"What I find very strange is this. That I think what's magnificent about Bach is that when you listen to this music, and it moves you so much, I mean, it's just a bunch of sound waves crashing into your ear, and you have to contain — you see this emotion bubbling up, you start seeing, like, tearing up, and saying, well, what's going on? These are just sounds crashing into my — what's going on in here?"
~ Bernard Chazelle
As I was growing up, I went to Interloken Arts Camp. Over the big stage there, they have it emblazoned in large letters: MUSIC IS THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE!
But maybe there are some things going on in music that aren't really the same as what's going on in language.
I'll give you some examples.
When we think back to what happened in a story somebody told us, we tend to remember the gist of what happened not the specific words they used to tell the story to us. But if we try to remember back to a song we listened to or a piece we really enjoyed, there's something about the actual, specific, sequence of notes that is still very present and verbatim in our memory. And in fact, really gripping.
There's a great example that Mark DeBellis uses in a book he wrote, where he asks—If you think about The Star Spangled Banner, and you think about the word Oh and the word you. Where those sung on the same pitch?
To answer that question, what you have to do is go back in and sing through the tune. You can't just duck in and get one little snippet. They're all welded together so tightly in your mind that one note seems to kind of inevitably spill out of the preceding one.
That tight connection from note to note is really an effect that is created through repitition."
~ Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, from "Music and Memory," To the Best of Our Knowledge, March 30, 2014.
Margulis, E. H. (2014). On repeat: How music plays the mind. New York: Oxford University Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/851068495
There must be purpose here,
cuz most of us keep waking up
(Don't you think it's pretty here)
It's so unexpectedly predictable,
So sloppily intentional,
Does anyone know the punchline yet?
There must be rhythm here,
cuz all of us have a heartbeat
(Don't you see the music here?)
Inside our ribs we tick
an average of 60 beats a minute
There must be forgiveness here
cuz most of us have our weaknesses
(Tell me what are your weaknesses)
I don't know myself and I'm afraid of you
I'm happiest on chemicals
The goings come and the comings go
Forgive me I'm just an animal
There must be healing here,
cuz everybody here has been damaged
And we'll wear it like a tattoo
Every scar is a smile
To hell with the going down
There must be afterlife here,
cuz we all pray for resurrection
You see the end comes quick as a bullet,
end comes quick as a bullet