Wednesday, June 1, 2011

musical souls

Have you ever listened to music and literally felt a surge of emotion? Most have...this is why I have always thought that if humans really do have souls, music might be proof. This idea is not novel, many great intellectuals (Rousseau and Tolstoy come to mind immediately) have actually condemned music due to its overly personal nature. Tolstoy in particular believed that one should not spend an exaggerated amount of time listening to music because it forces you to feel what the artist feels and this can be invasive to the artist's inner feeling and controlling of your own. Although, the artist himself is, in fact, baring his inner feeling by creating music in the first place...Tolstoy simply didn't like to be told how or what to feel, which he believed music affects.

Keep in mind that this conversation was in the late 18th, mid 19th century but it can very well be applied to modern music. So, this idea came from listening over and over to the new Fleet Foxes album, "Helplessness Blues." Man, does it strike a chord. While listening to some of the songs on the album I actually agreed with the Tolstoyan sentiment that music can be invasive of the artist's emotions and controlling of the listener's..
I found this 200 year-old idea to be true since listening to the songs and feeling feelings that were not mine.
All of a sudden I felt sad after one song, melancholy after another...some bring tears for no reason.
And yet I can't figure out if it's a bad thing to feel something that doesn't belong to you.
I guess you just have to keep in mind that these are the artist's feelings and ideas, not can stop crying/marveling/wondering once the album is over.

Anyways, simply pondering.

If you would like to read more about Tolstoy's reaction to music (he talked mostly of Bach and Beethoven) his work What is Art is very interesting and his ideas are heavily based on his favorite artist, Rousseau...

There's some free endorsement from tej-tej...this album is really good...
AND for this post's poetry inclusion I think I will just supply the lyrics to my favorite song on the album...because it really is poetry...

Helplessness Blues

I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see
And now after some thinking, I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me

But I don't, I don't know what that will be
I'll get back to you someday soon you will see

What's my name, what's my station, oh, just tell me what I should do
I don't need to be kind to the armies of night that would do such injustice to you
Or bow down and be grateful and say "sure, take all that you see"
To the men who move only in dimly-lit halls and determine my future for me

And I don't, I don't know who to believe
I'll get back to you someday soon you will see

If I know only one thing, it's that everything that I see
Of the world outside is so inconceivable often I barely can speak
Yeah I'm tongue-tied and dizzy and I can't keep it to myself
What good is it to sing helplessness blues, why should I wait for anyone else?

And I know, I know you will keep me on the shelf
I'll come back to you someday soon myself

If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm raw
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
And you would wait tables and soon run the store

Gold hair in the sunlight, my light in the dawn
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
If I had an orchard, I'd work till I'm sore
Someday I'll be like the man on the screen

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