Friday, March 04, 2011


Few things have as powerful an impact on my mood as music does. Life without it would be worse than perpetual gloomy gray, as far as I’m concerned. 

I am aware, with some fascination, that not everyone hears sound, listens or perceives a melody in quite the same way - individual reactions to music can range from complete apathy to pure ecstasy, from violent physical disgust to spiritual epiphany. Some people see colours when they hear certain musical notes (they have that marvellous gift that is synæsthesia), some get goose bumps and shivers up and down their spines at certain sound combinations, and some just hear noise no matter how hard they try to find any kind of meaning or harmony in what reaches their ears. Most just regard music as the accidental soundtrack to their lifes: whatever is played on the radio fits, especially if it's played often enough.

I am happy to be sensitive to music and I’m glad that I can enjoy it not only per se but also as a powerful form of “auto-medication”: I know exactly what I should listen to for a bit of a morale boost, for some extra energy or for relaxing. There's music to fit almost all of my needs and I'm not afraid to use it! My taste is pretty eccletic, the only thing I really can't stand is techno and death metal.

Wagner’s Liebestod inevitably leads me to the deepest emotional catharsis. I’ve just finished listening to it and my soul feels cleansed.  Now I can sleep.


Trulyfool said...


Music directly enters the emotions. There's a physical connection. A strong art. When it's bad, I want to shout it down. When it's good, I want to raise a shrine.

I'm sure I wrote this somewhere before, but there's an anecdote about the 19th Century music critic listening to Tristan and part of the way through, while the lovers pine but do not consummate, the critic remarked that if it were an Italian opera they would have had several children by now.

Despite that delicious crack, and despite Wagner's reputation as a, basically, despicable man, this music very much does get to me.

And there are many, many pieces of various kinds that reach me strongly.


rauf said...

"Only relatives and creditors ever ring in that Wagnerian manner" - Who else but Oscar Wilde ? i don't know what he had against Wagner.

The Importance of Being Earnest was written before Hitler was born. There was no way Oscar Wilde knew what Hitler was going to do. So Wagner is not to be blamed for inspiring Nazism. Honestly i don't believe that Claudia. No mischief on my part nor have i gone mad today as it is getting very hot here in Chennai. Today incidentally is 'beware the ides of March'

Hope you are not angry with me Claudia. the music is indeed very soothing.

Looks like Zubin Mehta conducting.
Is that Zubin Mehta ? If so he doesn't seem to be growing old.