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June 25, 2008

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Don Hall

Universality of language.

Director

Don's close. it's not universality of language, but it is itself a universal language. Everyone understands it.. and it conveys emotions that can't be described in words. Try to describe how you feel when your child is born or when a loved one dies... No words can do it justice. But most people can find a piece of music that they can say "That's exactly how I felt."

Abe Goldfarb

I would take Director's notion one step further. Music is powerful because, while most other art contextualizes itself for you, music's context is dependent entirely on where, who and what you are when you hear it. It's not just that music can express an emotional state in less time and more accessibly than any other art form. It's that now, ever since the dawn of modern recorded sound, and particularly since the birth of the Walkman, we associate our own feelings about something with the song we heard at the time. We take it everywhere with us. And it's something you can experience with rich rewards either communally or in solitude.

RVCBard

I would take Director's notion one step further. Music is powerful because, while most other art contextualizes itself for you, music's context is dependent entirely on where, who and what you are when you hear it.

This is the effect I'm going for with my writing. I would call it Musical Theater, but I'm afraid that's taken.

Karl Miller

Music also fuses two sides of the brain that rarely talk to each other ... the mathematical, abstract left side and the intuitive right side.

Music is poly-sensual, too. Something we may have lost in the iPod Age of limitless data accumulation: the tactile side of music, that it is vibration absorbed by your whole body, not just two channels jacked into your ears.

Rob Kendt

I think behind all these comments is the basic truth that music unfolds in particular time and space, and only actually ever exists in a particular time and space, and as Karl said it's felt by the body in a way that no other art form even comes close to. And yet--and yet--for all its immediacy and physicality, it is blessedly nonliteral. Its power is both visceral and abstract; I can't think of a more potent combination (any words you happen to add to that are just gravy). Also, the act of making music calls into being a set of relationships--between audience and music-maker, even if it's just an iPod--that embodies an ideal of order and harmony (literally) not unlike the set of relationships one can find in ritual or worship. (I have to confess that my ideas on this are informed, a lot, by Christopher Small's maddening but very persuasive book "Musicking.")

Jennifer Gordon Thomas

it's primal. it's nature. i was playing golf a couple of weeks ago...and at one point i stopped and heard a veritable symphony of birds singing, woodpeckers pounding, breezes blowing. words (even those spoken by an actor!) are, in my opinion, the least effective form of communication. music transcends the verbal. it exists only while it is played, rising from nothing and disappearing again into nothingness. we recognize this fleeting feeling as what we are and will be on a primal level. ok, i'm getting too deep.

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