A Nervous Girl’s Guide to… Music (And Why It’s So Important)

It’s astonishing how universally well-liked music is. Some people like whittling, some don’t. Some people like drawing, some don’t. Some people like trainspotting, many don’t. Can you think of another form of activity or hobby that almost everyone engages in other than listening to music?

What is it about music that makes it so universally treasured? I think it’s probably something to do with its ability to completely manipulate your mood. I believe it’s true that music can save lives. Music is powerful enough to evoke any emotion or image. Imagine movies without music. Or with the wrong music (e.g. Schindler’s List with a comedy circus tune over the top).

I find it astonishing just how a change of sound, key or note can alter the entire mood of a piece of music. For example, just listen to YMCA in the minor key. Isn’t it the most terrifying thing you’ve ever heard? (No, I don’t know how to embed videos. I’m what people call a techno-idiot. You’re gonna have to get clicking, I’m afraid. It’s worth it, though, I promise).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGflu3TbREo

 

I also think that music can be very important for mental health, for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. People take medications or drugs to alter their mood, but I find that some music can be just as potent at altering mood as some medications (not that I’m anti-medication, by the way).

If I could live my life over again, I would want to be good at music and to make music. But as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have the coordination skills to learn a musical instrument, and my singing voice is as flat as a pancake. So, I’ve decided that I will just have to be an observer (or whatever the auditory equivalent is).

It’s usual in my blogs to have a numbered list at some point. It would probably be expected for me at this point to list my top 5 favourite songs or something. But that’s too middle of the road for me. Instead I’m going to list the top strange/interesting/bizarre sounds and/or techniques I’ve heard in songs. I like to listen to unusual music sometimes, as it reminds me that music can literally be anything.

  • Jewish Klezmer music has got to be some of the most expressive music I’ve ever heard. And while I appreciate it’s a very random thing to have on my iPod, I get a lot of enjoyment from listening to it. Instruments in Jewish music are supposed to mimic the sound of the human voice e.g. laughing or crying sounds, something that virtually no other folk tradition does. It’s a very “human” type of music, if that makes sense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrjpaoT6bfw

  • Anything Kate Bush does is experimental, and brilliant, and pure art. The woman has thrown the rulebook on music out the window. Her songs include such, erm, interesting features as; mimicking donkeys and birds, singing words backwards, inserting tons of unusual sounds in places you don’t expect, and writing music about subjects such as getting trapped under ice and being slowly being driven mad by a washing machine. Really, it’s difficult to know what song to choose to show what this woman is capable of.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kBMHLxDdEI

  • I stumbled across a musical group (God knows what I was googling) who try and replicate the music of Ancient Rome. Obviously it’s pure speculation, but I thought it was a good idea; I’m sure some of us have wondered what music of the past sounded like. And while it’s not exactly a toe-tapping tune, you’ve got to admit, it’s quite interesting to listen to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJLXyBzMci0

By now you might have realised that I have an odd taste in music. What’s your taste in music? What are some of your favourite songs?

 

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