The Poetry of Music
“When words fail, music speaks.”
– Hans Christian Anderson
Music has been an integral part of my life since I was a small child. I have always been surrounded by it. It is a huge part of who I am. I can definitely say that it speaks to me in ways other things can’t. As stated in the Hans Christian Anderson quote above, “Where words fail, music speaks.” Music, when infused with words, can indeed have a huge effect on us.
When I say I have always been surrounded by music, it literally was around me all the time. My mother used to play music that she loved around the house. My sister started taking piano lessons when I was 3, and when I was 5, I started taking lessons as well. I took piano for 12 years, fell in love with pretty much anything that was on the radio in my teenage years, and it has continued that way all of my life. Anything from classical, pop, heavy metal, country, show tunes, you name it, I will most likely at least give it a chance.
Why would all kinds of music have such an effect on me? There are many reasons I am sure, but in addition to the music itself, I think it is the lyrical poetry of the words within the music that can have an additional effect on us. I also have found that many songs, as you read through the lyrics, read like a poem. Then there are the works of music I have heard that actually take poetry, and write music to the words.
I wrote a post for poetry month a couple years ago about the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost and shared what a part of my life it had become. In attending one of my son’s All-County Choral Festivals around that same time, they sang a song that was this poem, put to music. I cried through the entire piece. Putting these words to music brought the words of the poem to a whole new level for me. It took something already meaningful, and elevated it.
I had a particularly rough therapy session last year. I’m always working on myself, as most of us probably are, and I have an uncanny ability to beat myself up over little things. After this session, I got in my car, and as I had just bought a new album the day before, I was listening to it on the first time through. These words came out of my stereo:
This song was what I needed to hear at that very moment. Since that day I have listened to this song, read these words, thought through these words, so many times. They lift me. They tell me to stop being so hard on myself. They truly do make me stop and take a breath and realize how strong I can be if I will just let myself. It is the words just as much as the music that made a difference to me on that day, and they still do.
Where words fail, music speaks. You can talk to me and tell me I’m too hard on myself, that I need to just let things go, that I don’t have to be everything to everyone, but it took this song to hit it home to me that day.
Music and words together can become part of the poetry that effects our lives. If you listen closely, you can actually feel the connection that music gives us to the words and it can greatly enrich our lives. I know it has mine. I have tried, and I believe succeeded, to pass this passion I have for music and their words on to my children and others around me. I believe music can make us better. So can words. When put together, it can become something almost healing.
You can find Kristalyn over on her blog The Sarcastic Palmtree where she blogs about what she reads, wants to read, and many great authors. You can also find some other fun posts about TV shows and music.
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