"Music is the regular man’s magic wand, the fairy dust of commoners, the heart surgeon for the broken masses. One minute you can be gray and lost, covered up in a thin film of your own questions and worries and self-focused mess. And then you turn on the music and all the world springs to life, anxieties crumble small to the ground, worry hangs his head in the presence of whimsy. (Those two can never hang out together.) When I’m writing and find myself in a dark, colorless corner of non-ideas, the right music can paint the world with hope." ~ Emily Freeman
One of my new favorite blogs to follow is Chatting At The Sky with author Emily Freeman. I am not exactly sure how I landed at Emily's blog, but I am glad that I did. It always feels like a respite in my day when I take the time to read her thoughtful posts. Emily is a wife, mother and writer who recently published her first book Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life. I don't have a copy of this book, but the blurb about it sounds like I should. I am putting it on my wish list.
Miss Emily wrote her most recent post on February 9, 2012 titled "Using Music to Inspire Your Writing." Seeing as I have music on the brain this month, I was intrigued. The quote above is the opening paragraph of her post. It is well worth a read.
Miss Emily says that when she is working on some new writing she needs to listen to orange-yellow music. The idea that music could be expressed in colors really moved me! She goes on to list some tracks of music that evoke that bright vibrant pop of color and never fail to get her brain dancing in the right direction. One that she mentions is the soundtrack to Pride & Prejudice. Now I have seen the movie, but I can't say that I recall the music that runs so seamlessly through the scenes. Miss Emily says, "Nearly every song on this album is yellow-orange, with the occasional deep green-blue undertone." Take a listen to this selection from the soundtrack and see if you agree. I know that I am going to have to get a copy of this soundtrack to play while I work, especially since yellows are so hard for me to coax out of my studio.
Some music is rich with jeweled undertones. This is music that feels sumptuous and luxurious, rich and dreamy. Lush music like Norah Jones Come Away With Me or Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake can transport you so completely to another time and place. I love that about music. I recently had the pleasure of treating my daughter, Tiny Dancer, her favorite friend and favorite aunt to the Russian Ballet's performance of Swan Lake at the Fox Valley Performing Arts Center. The music was a glorious accompaniment to the stength and beauty of the dancers. I totally felt that the Prima Ballerina was transformed into a swan as the tendons in her arms rippled as she extended her arms and seemed to float on the air. It was incredibly moving.
The movie Black Swan was haunting and so masterful. The score is by Clint Maunsell based on Tchaikovsky's iconic Swan Lake. This last song in the soundtrack is called "A Swan Song (for Nina)" and is so rich and flowing. (If you listen, the first 57 seconds are so quiet you may think it is not working. Keep listening.)
I can feel the quiet desperation in this song. There is an oppressive sadness that hints to grey and black but with a release of white for me in this music. It is somber and haunting and completely evokes the madness of the character of Nina.
Last week, in phase two of the dance performances, Tiny Dancer and I went to see the Lily cai Chinese Dance Theater company perform. What a treat that was! Not only was it a great experience of another culture, but we were immersed in sounds that I had not heard before as well as movements that were so expressive it was as if they were painting the air with their bodies. In one of the four dances they held lit candles while performing an intensely lyrical choreography to a Mahler symphony. The only light on stage were these lit candles that flickered and seemed to respond to their every move without ever going out. The final number was a feast for the eyes. They were dressed in simple black leotards and used long silk ribbons to literally paint the stage with their presence. It was a tribute to Jackson Pollock's paintings melded with Chinese calligraphy. Beautiful! This YouTube video I found is a bit rough, but I thought you might like to see it.
So music can evoke feelings and memories, but also color and light and shape and movement. The beat is like the pattern and the foundation. It can be dramatic and driving and colored in shades of crimson and plum, or it can be soft and ethereal and colored in tones of azalea and lavender.
What color is the music you are listening to today?