Laura wrote a post on the beauty of food a few posts below. Her reflection prompts mine also on the magnificence of music.
Where does music come from if not the soul? Animals do not sing. Oh perhaps the birds do sing in an ambling sort of way that sounds more like communication than true song. But only the human person has produced the majesty of music and surely it emerges from the deep mysterious places of our soul. Music can stir, it can call forth tears, it makes us swell with healthy pride and exuberance, it can instill joy, provoke our deepest thoughts and it make us want to dance. Music unites, it also divides, some love what others hate, it can make you mad, it can make you sad, it can make you glad but seldom are we merely neutral as to it’s quality or influence.
The genius and variety of music is astonishingly remarkable: from country to classical, modern to medieval, blues to ballads, solos to symphonies, jazz to jewsharp, renaissance to rap, and polyphony to parade music.
And consider this, music is unique to the human person. In the Bible, only once does it mention that God sings (cf Zeph 3:17) and NO WHERE does it mention that angels sing. But Father, but Father, of course angels sing! Sorry, despite the notions of popular culture the Bible does not describe that angels sing. Even in the classic Christmas scene where we think of the angels singing Glory to God in the Highest and On Earth peace to men of good will, the text does not say they sing this but that they say it! (Look it up at Luke 2:13). So singing is a special trait of human beings and part of our dignity. Angels say, they cry out and declare (cf Rev 5:12) but only humans sing. And to some extent only humans grasp it. I have often marvelled at how unaffected by a great song my pets have been. I can be tapping my toe, be moved to tears, filled with zeal by a song and the dogs and cats I have had just lie there bored. Proof again that music is distinctly human and requires an immortal, God breathed soul to grasp it.
Music is the soul’s way to exhale, to express itself beyond words. It bespeaks the soul’s longing, its sighing, its joy and its sorrow, words are optional. Appreciate anew this miracle of human existence, this unique gift to the human person, this flash of beauty and dignity in the soul of every human person.
Here are my two favorite scenes from the movie Amadeus, a movie about my favorite composer, Mozart. In video one, his rival Salieri describes the exquisite and subtle beauty of a Mozart Sonata. In video two Mozart is working to compose part of his Requiem at the words Confutatis maledictis flammis acribus adictitis, Voca me cum benedictis (When the wicked are consigned to woeful flames, call me to be with your blessed ones). Watch as the notes come forth from his very soul, his soul exhales and sighs, the notes! It starts slow then builds.