Tuesday, 17 April 2018

On 'being musical'

I am a fair bit above-average in my 'musicality' although I've never performed any instrument to a significant level: that is, I hear what is going-on in music, and it affects me quite powerfully.

This is a plus when it comes to the appreciation of good music, well-performed - but is, under normal circumstances, more of a curse.


For example, a powerful memory of childhood (still with power to alter my mood) is the leaden misery of attending church; mainly due to the miserable hymns, miserably performed.

Even as a young child, I only liked a few hymns, and I only liked these when they were performed well - by which I meant with sincerity and dedication...

To hear bad hymns, or to hear any kind of hymn drearily intoned at about half the proper tempo and with a further rallentando at the end of each verse, and with an indeterminate-number-of-beats gap between verses... To hear a sluggish and rasping church organ, or fluting and over-articulating boys choir...

All this for me this was not-merely not-enjoyable, but actively unpleasant: a kind of moment-by-moment torment.

Even nowadays - music is seldom 'background' for me; in the sense that when I dislike it, it makes me feel worse.


In sum, I find it all-but impossible to ignore music; and since there is a lot more bad music than good, and a lot more bad performance than good; this does considerable net-harm to my mood.

People who don't really appreciate music, people whom music does not-much affect, will find this pretentious or feeble-minded; but so far as I can tell it is hard-wired - and I am stuck with it.

And, quite likely, it is an impulse towards my greater than usual desire for solitude: by avoiding other people, I avoid their music and the almost-inevitable depressive effect that has on me.

  

3 comments:

Nathaniel said...

It seems the more awake and fine-tuned our senses are is always a double-edged sword. It may be few than can truly appreciate, but so they also suffer more this world's faults.

a probst said...

Nowadays, most Catholic Masses include music. There is always music during the distribution of the Eucharist and I find it distracting from prayer whether I like the hymn or not. I deal with it by clicking open my Eustachian tubes and humming the words to the prayer in normal speaking tones, as if I were saying it out loud.

William Wildblood said...

Music is definitely one of the ways by which the dark forces corrupt minds. Plato's words were never truer than from the mid 20th century onwards.