Friday, February 25, 2011

Music and Emotions

"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." William Congreve

The play was called The Mourning Bride [1697], and the quote id from Act 1 Sc1.

Personally, I love music, all kinds. I start my day off by turning the radio up loud on the way to work and off I go. The minute I hear the first few notes of certain songs, I’m either jazzing along with my feet thumping the floor and my head bobbing, singing my heart out, or I’m yanked back in time faster than the speed of light. I especially like music that takes me back to a time when I was young and having lots of fun, not that I’m not having fun now, of course, But remember those songs that make you think of when you were 13 or 14 and so madly in love you thought you would die, or had a super bad crush on some gorgeous junior high school guy that you knew would never ever pay any attention to you? Or what about that guy you slipped beneath the bleachers to make out with? And the songs you and your girlfriends used to blare on the radio and dance to. Those are big emotions. Certain music from that era, truly evokes that same feeling in my heart as if I were reliving that time of my life. For me a couple of those songs are:  Sunshine Superman by Donovan, Summer In The City by The Lovin' Spoonful, Lil' Red Riding Hood by Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs, Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress) by the Hollies, just to name a slight few. I mean we were the luckiest generation, growing up with songs like, I Want to Hold Your Hand, by the Beatles, Return to Sender, by Elvis, Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones. My list could go on and on forever. I have downloaded all of these songs on to my Zune and I listen to it all the time.  

Try listening to breathtaking Classical

Different types of music affect me in different ways as well. Take classical. I listen to classical occasionally but would rather sit at an orchestrated symphonic concert than listen on the radio, although I do sometimes. Being in the same room and watching a large symphony perform gets my heart beating like nothing else. Truly feeling the rhythm of the music rush through your body is a breathtaking experience and makes me wish I possessed the talent to play a musical instrument. When I’m highly stressed, I can close my eyes and listen to a performance by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or Ludwig van Beethoven, and am immediately relaxed (and sometimes put to sleep-not a bad way to nod off!). Check out Yo-Yo Ma playing an interesting rendition of the prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 – You do all know who Yo-Yo Ma is, right? Watch the video first, and then listen with your eyes closed and think about the feelings the music stirs in you.

And then there are movie theme songs and soundtracks that take you back to many wonderful and amazing films. Those are always fun and most, especially the big Disney movies, use quite a lot of classical music in the background. For instance, for the movie Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice had an amazing classical background and every time I hear it I imagine the mystical scene from the movie. I am a huge fan of all Disney’s films and especially like the animated ones and the themes that go with them. Just think about all of the films made over the years and the musical compositions that the incredible producers compiled for them and you can imagine how much music is out there for that genre. Check out these links to several different movie soundtracks and music clips. Fun to listen to.

Rock 'n' Roll, Baby!

Rock and Roll evokes a very different feeling than Pop music of course. More gritty. I like gritty somtimes, one of my alter egos. I have my favorites in that genre as well. A couple of my favorite Rock and Roll songs from my era are (ok, so I've been aging myself all through this-no jokes) In A Gadda Da Vida by Iron Butterfly, Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf, Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones, and of course there are so many more. Just do a search for 70's Rock and Roll and you'll be amazed what you find. Great music! Go hunting for some memories of your own, no matter what generation you're from, there's an amazing world out there just waiting for you to explore. 

Jazz is another of my favorites. They recently changed my local jazz station so if anyone knows of a local (Fort Worth, Texas) jazz station I'd love to know about it. I need to dowload more of this kind of music, I just can't get enough. Jazz has a calming effect on me so I like to listen when I'm tired. It's very soothing. Here's an interesting website that tells the history of jazz.

And then there's Pop music, one of my favorite sounds. Pop songs I couldn't stop listening to were Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe, Tonight's the Night by Rod Stewart, Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees, and on and on. I love these songs, not only for the lyrics, but because of the emotions they stir. That is only one of, gosh, so many many songs or groups that I listened to while I was growing up.  Music was and still is a huge part of my life. I can't even begin to list all of the gourps I enjoyed, so here is a website that has loads of them.  Listen to the amazing music!

Country Music
makes me cry!

Most Country and Western songs make me cry so I can only listen to those at the end of the day when it’s okay for my mascara to run or I need to get some water proof but then I wouldn't be able to see the computer screen. The beer drinkin’ and honkey tonkin’ songs are lots of fun and for the most part, I can listen to those without balling my eyes out, but even those choke me up, not sure why, but there you have it. We used to go two-steppin’ (or four steppin’ with my husband) at Billy Bob's Texas while we were dating. Those were surely fun times.

And while I was at the dentist today, they gave me a credit card sized radio and headphones so I could listen to music while they worked on my mouth. It helped keep me from thinking about what they were doing to me and I thanked them afterward. I also got a back massage which was cool. But try singing out loud with your lips numb. Not a very pretty sight. Sounds funny too. And you dribble :-)

And on the radio I heard about a group of musicians called "Musicians On Call" who go around delivering the healing power of music to patients in healthcare facilities. We all believe music heals, right? I thought this was pretty cool. Check out their website.

And then there are the songs that when you hear them, you go, yeah, that’s about me, that's my life! Go out there, get adventurous in your search for music to listen to, there is a multitude of choices. Enjoy your mood music and try to think about the joy it gives you while you listen, the memories you can drift off into, the emotions the lyrics pull from you, or the fantasies you can create anew.

It's everywhere! Music is in the air! What are some of your favorites songs? What emotions does music evoke in your soul? What kind of music motivates you and in what ways? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Listening!


  1. Great post, Wendy! I, too, can't live without music. The soundtrack of my life is what helps keep my memories strong. Like listening to Don Williams while helping my dad fix the car in 1982 or skating under the glitter ball to Donna Summer. Or singing Splish Splash I Was Taking a Bath to my son when he was a baby. Every book I've ever written has been accompanied by the soundtrack to the Original Cast Recording of Phantom of the Opera. I just don't know what I'd do without music. It's such an emotion-evoking piece of my soul. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wendy, I love that post and I love music. This reminds me of our conversation about our Ipod. And yes, I have my earpiece in. :)))) Listening to Michael Jackson. woo woo, woo woo Billie Jean is not my lover, she's just a girl...:)

    Rock On!

  3. Wendy, what a nice post. I have eclectic tastes in music, too, but listen to classical when I'm writing. In fact, the Yo-Yo Ma Back Prelude is the first song on the Yo-Yo CD I play. When I'm checking email, blogging, etc., then I listen to Carole King, Ella Fitzgerald, Rascal Flatts, etc. Your post is just one more thing I like about you. LOL

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  5. Well, deleting that comment didn't work :-) Thanks Jen and Geri, I know we're all together on the music scene.

    Thanks Caroline, Love Carole King, Ella Fitzgerald and Rascal Faltts too. Gosh there are so many! Thanks for visiting!