Power of Music

I wonder what gives music it’s unique power over the human soul. It is one of those cross-generational, cross-cultural things that appeals to everyone. True, our tastes are often as varied as could be imagined, but there is something about the blending of melody and harmony that can capture us like nothing else.

I just read an article in the Chicago Tribune about surgeons who play music in the operating room. It has been proven to help calm the surgeon’s nerves during the surgical procedure and seems to contribute to the healing process for the patient. Something about it resonates with the human soul.

Music often makes or breaks a movie depending on how it is utilized. Imagine a movie without music. A few directors have tried it and the result is usually a minimalistic effect that lends a cold, gritty feel. The opposite is also done with horrendous result, i.e. music that forces the viewer to feel a certain emotion when it is not merited or earned by what is displayed on the screen. Awful coercion that is to art like a frying pan to the face.

Yet when it’s done right, it can be so incredibly powerful and gripping. My mom often tells a story of her pregnancy with me when she watched the Natural starring Robert Redford. If you have never seen it, it is basically the story of the redemption of a baseball player as he matures through the mistakes of his youth. Anyway, the climatic moment is a homerun with wonderful, crescendoing music that rises with the ball and truly augments the action on the screen. My mom was so into the moment that she must have gotten a shock of adrenaline, which startled me in the womb. She says I really kicked her hard. Would that scene have had the same effect without the music? Probably not.

Good music is a blessing akin to a gorgeous sunset. It infuses the soul with a shot of transcendant espresso and carries us off to a world where each note finds its place in the tapestry of the song where it caresses the ears with liquid beauty. Then there are the songs that cannot be heard without an accompanying foot tap or full body swerve. What other essence can make one act like a fool and not care what others think for five uninterrupted minutes? What other thing can unleash the real person who often hides behind a thick facade?

I don’t know about you, but I feel like busting out some moves!


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