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Why is Music so Popular?

I spent the last few days, even weeks, listening to some of the most incredible music ever composed. It’s all around us. Every generation added to the list from as far back as the dusty pages go. Indeed, even back further than written music exists. Universal music. Every culture, village, and group made their melodies, some more complicated than others. There are many times when simplicity floats majestically through the air and brings the most blessed tranquility.

At other times, the heart was enraged to fierceness by the drums’ beat, and art-felt strains inspired battle and killing. With music, things like these occur in crowds who lived through both the great happiness and most tragic portions of their lives.

Even as death attends, so does birth. Gorgeous sounds encompass all things, whether we realize it or not. 

I know this blog is different than some I’ve written, but the truth of music is so much brighter, deeper, and connected to more things than most imagine. Yes, we all dance. And we’ve cried. But those things only show the sounds that raise the world. Other sounds build, lifting and filling the empty with purpose and solidity. That music constructs everything and makes us believe time flows like a river.

Did you know that scientists posit thesmallest most essential thing happens to look like a string and not a dot? Their theories reach down beyond the microscopic to say the smallest thing possible is a minute tendril. What I find most interesting about that is the way these strands vibrate. That is entirely correct. They move back and forth, shaking. Here is what fascinates me about it — vibration creates sound. Indeed. I’m sure the noise is not even close to being within the frequencies our ears can hear, or even those that our instruments can detect, but it is there.

I suppose the background noise that radio telescopes detect may be the remnants of the sound I’m talking about. I think the current thought on that noise is it is the echo of the Big Bang. Whatever it is, there is a sound out there.

Does this make you curious? The above passage is the kind of thing I write about in my upcoming book, I’ve Been Thinking, only I really dig into things. The non-fiction book delves into metaphysical ideas about the universe. It’s not your average book, I’ll tell you. I talk about the things that fascinate me and the way I envision how the universe fits together.

Let me also tell you that I have been working like a plow horse trying to fix my Newsletter system. Many readers subscribed to it, but I wasn’t Tech savvy enough to maintain it very well. The result was no newsletters went out. I called in some professional help, and the people I buy my domain from came to the rescue. The name is JC Hosting, and the people there worked even harder than me during this last week. They are amazing people, and if you need a host for your website, get in contact with them. You can find them at: jc-hosting.net.

Anyway, thanks to hard-working people, I think I’m ready to try again. So, I have deleted the subscriptions from before, and now I have a clean slate. Let’s give it a try. If you decide you want notifications when I publish a blog and when my books are ready to hit the stands, sign up for my newsletter. Same deal as before. It is free, I will never sell your name or email to anyone else, and you will get a notification of when each blog hits. Give it a try. There is nothing to lose.

I will love letting you know about whatever I have to say.

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The Music of Life

When I attended college, I studied music, and they required that I take several years of fundamentals or Western Classical Music Theory. The essential thing was this. Music is a result of organized sound, and sound is a result of vibrations. Music theory itself is the study of how those vibrations make Harmony; how pleasing sounds fit together with harsh and dissonant sounds to create music.

The rules can get complicated. We started by working through the rules that Bach used. Then after months, actually years, we graduated to analyzing the works of the great masters, and what I found in those surprised me. Those great masters broke the rules. We were told never to do a particular kind of musical progression because it weakened the music, but Debussy used them often, and when he did, it made the music translucent and beautiful.

That made no sense.

By the time Stravinsky wrote, the extended dissonance that the theory professors had frowned upon was suddenly how modern music was supposed to sound.

Sometime later, I grew interested in African music, not part of the Western Classical genre. And the way they handled their harmonies violated a whole slew of those rules I spent so long studying. All those broken rules of the theory I’d studied set me to wondering. Why do we have rules of music if they can be broken and still create good music? Could it be that the rules are immaterial as long as there is consistency?

Have you ever noticed that every culture, every civilization, has found a way to make music? Before you point out that the hearing impaired culture doesn’t, let me observe that those of that culture can, and do, take note of vibrations, if not with their ears with their entire bodies.

But now, let’s look at something else. The current top theory of what makes up the Universe is String Theory. The name comes from the fundamental particle, the smallest, most essential piece — a one-dimensional string. And guess what. The strings vibrate, and the vibrations are extremely important because these infinitesimal particles with their quivering make up everything else, which makes everything vibrate. The vacillations create all kinds of things, including…sound. That’s right music; the Universe sings.

I was right. There is consistency in music; everything makes it. That’s why every culture takes part in it. Music is universal, literally. Everything does it. (I don’t usually use the word literally, because people regularly use it the wrong way. in this context, it is correct.)

Yes, everything makes music, and because of that, every culture creates music. It’s a primal urge, so innate that we don’t even notice we do it. How many times have you, or someone close to you, started humming, or whistling, perhaps even singing for no reason at all? Or, how about the times that you had some ludicrous tune bouncing around in your head, and nothing you did could stop it? Music surrounds us.

When I taught music, I gave my general music class an assignment to write down several natural rhythms. These patterns occurred naturally, things like water dropping from the roof onto an air conditioner, or a tree branch scratching the side of the house at odd intervals in a row, or how about the rhythm of a bird’s song. The thing that all of these had in common was they had no human causes; they happened on their own.

There is music everywhere — vibrations of the one-dimensional strings, rumbling thunder, the soft rhythm of a baby snorting while asleep to beautiful strains of a melody in your mind yet to be hummed. The pervasiveness of music is fundamental to my understanding of the Universe.

Music composes the world around us, and the music is so complicated that even our most sensitive machines can’t detect it all. Except we hear it with that innermost part of ourselves as all of nature does. And like nature, we are children of music.

Enjoy the songs of life.