Music as a language
I am the type of person who has to listen to music when I am doing any type of work whether it be chores or homework. Sometimes when I do homework and I really need to focus, I will listen to Edith Piaf, a famous French legend, or instrumental. This helps me to not get distracted by the words and wanting to sing along. It helps me stay focused on the work in front of me while still having the background music in my head.
I noticed while I went to see “In the Heights” in September some of the words to the songs were in Spanish. I found myself listening to the singers and their strengths and weaknesses. Not only that, but the emotion they evoked from the tone and quality of their notes. I again found myself doing the same thing when I listened to the songs in Nabucco. I listened to how well the singers performed their pieces and their dynamics. I also felt the emotion just because of how they sang the words. Nabucco is in Italian, but when Abigaille sings her back-to-back arias I felt passion, and pain that her character was going through during that part of the opera.
That’s the beautiful thing about music, you do not have to understand what is being said to enjoy the music. When I was younger I never understood how American artist could travel overseas to other countries and perform. I thought, “they cannot understand the music so…how are they enjoying the music?” When I got older and started to listen to music in other languages I understood; it is about what you feel when you listen to the song. A good artist can get their listeners to feel the emotion they are trying to display without having to speak any words or even the same language as their listeners.
This is how ballets work. They are solely just the music and the dancers. The audience gets what is going on by the emotion the orchestra plays, and how the dancers carry themselves on stage. The dancers have to feel the music though in order to show that emotion on stage, you must be dramatic to show the feelings on stage.
I started to see music as a universal language. I know it sounds cliché, but everyone does understand it. Then I asked myself, well, most languages have an alphabet, or you can write it down, so I started to think about musical notes, staffs, clefs, octaves, and the other ways we write music down. Each measure is a word, which comes together to make a sentence, and when the composer is done, they have their story written down. For instance, when there is an important part of a song, it is repeated so that it stays in your head, like a chorus, or a bridge. When people speak to one another in order to emphasize important they often repeat themselves. When something is a secret, we whisper, and when something happens on stage, that should maybe not it is sang or played in piano. You could continue to draw similarities between how we speak and dynamics and tempo in music.
Next time you have the chance, listen to your favorite, with your eyes closed and no distractions and you will probably experience it differently than you ever had before.