This week I was trying to think of a quote I had heard at some point in my life, and of coarse, I couldn’t remember the exact quote, just the pondering feeling it had left me with. I had Campbell and ODonohue’s names as the prime probable source, but while searching brought up many quotes, none of them were what I thought that I was remembering.
I ended up listening to an interview with John O’Donohue and in that conversation, he said something that took my thoughts off of my previous search and had me pondering anew. He said: “Music is what language would love to be if it could.”
John had been a priest, writer, poet, and speaker, so words were his forte. I started to contemplate if I too felt that statement to be true or not. I was curious that someone so versed in his medium would find it lacking when compared to another. Was it a case of what you find easy, you deem less magical than what amazes you in others?
I thought of the songs that seem to come on the radio that pierce your soul when your harboring a certain emotion. Is it the words or the melody that stabs at the tender parts?
I remember watching the movie Amadeus when it came out, and the descriptions and layering of the notes described by Salieri – who’s genius was not to be the great composer that he prayed to be, but to recognize and see that greatness in others. It was an initiation to me to not just hear, but to feel the messages in the notes of music and to notice the layering of the composition.
I contemplated all of the theater plays and musicals that I have seen and how musicals almost always bring a level of emotion that aren’t as easily garnered in regular plays. How it is, that so much more can be told through a song in the same amount of space as a dialogue.
Maybe words do sometimes need a melody to carry them to the spaces inside of us that text won’t fit.
I recalled a recent conversation with some friends, one whom had just resigned from being the music director for our church. I had relayed to her that I had gone to alot of churches over the years and while there were a few sermons that were memorable, it was the music that almost always brought forth the deeper connection and recollections.
But words, they hold power too. I have cards I keep because the words penned on that paper, make me feel deep emotion every time I read them. The letters that form to make words that only the quiet of your mind can interpret, filter and accept as the truth you dared not think for yourself.
Maybe it is the beauty of the music without words that allows our subtle and not so subtle emotions to rise. Maybe it is all beauty that language would love to be and that is why there will always be poets and writers trying to capture a piece of what everything else can deliver without words.
So goes the contemplation of my mind this week.
Hoping if you are reading this, that you have a day filled with beauty that is beyond the words.