The School of Life Dictionary states of our need for music that, “We bear within us a legacy of unfelt feelings.”
The modest article in a publication that seeks to promote a deeper emotional intelligence goes further saying, “we’re constantly faced with situations where something significant is going on; at the back of our minds the helpful emotional reaction is there, but it’s subdued and drowned out by the ambient noise of existence. Music is the opposite of noise: it is the cure for noise.
It got me thinking about how listening more attentively could potentially help get to the bottom of our core values.
Can interrogating our emotional reaction to a piece of music help uncover the stance we unwittingly adopt in our day-to-day lives?
This kind of deep introspection often occurs between Christmas and New Year.
Little wonder really. The pressure is off. The mind is relaxed (the wine box helps). Plans are made. Hope pops up and says hello again.
Maybe there’s something in it – listening not just to the music but your reaction to it, trying to capture what it is that resonates on a personal level, then trying to decipher why.
Telemann’s Sonata in A Minor
So I tried it with Telemann’s Sonata in A Minor, TWV 43: A5.
The stark tone gives the rich harmonies in the opening grave a nourishing feel.
The dance-like allegro has a resolute air than anything joyous or celebratory: this is a musical marathon, not a concluding sprint. I like it’s punch-like chords, and especially warm to its ambiguous ending.
The second allegro feels like a holding pattern – a sort of musical lay-by preparing us for the next part of the journey. It’s abrupt near-throwaway ending makes for an arresting conclusion.
The concluding allegro builds on the resolute air of the air with a steely busy determination. Precision and industry fuel this intent. It’s bold, its brave too. And it disappears in a flash. Blink and you’ll miss it.
What I Get From It
I’m projecting slightly. That’s the flaw in this particular approach to writing about music. The purists will say that this isn’t critical appreciation. Well know. I’m not writing it to be ‘pure’.
What’s interesting for me is the variants on ‘resolute’ in my listening of Telemann’s Sonata in A Minor. It’s a restless thing, not completely confident of itself. But the stark string tone and the driving pulse makes this all alive. Urgent, perhaps. Determined, definitely.
Now I come to think about other things that have been happening recently, perhaps this view isn’t necessarily a surprise.
We’re Far From Our Neighbours
Just yesterday I ended up interacting with someone on a local community Facebook group. It was a strange affair. The group isn’t as ready for robust ‘dry’ humour as I had previously assumed.
The interactions led me to conclude that there are occasions in our lives when the distance between us and our neighbours is a good deal further than perhaps we first realised.
The way to deal with that distance is a tricky thing. You can either cower and retreat, or you can adopt a resilient stance, knowing that they’re entitled to their view just as you’re entitled to yours.
What you end up with is neither good nor bad. It’s not triumph nor defeat. It’s just day-to-day life.
It’s not easy, but it is authentic.
The picture in this post is from Flickr, published by B Rosen, and used here under the terms of Creative Commons Licence
Thoroughly Good Blog is an independent blog celebrating classical music and the arts.