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Quote of the Day
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Familiar Sounds
Sometimes I forget how much I am affected by music.

A few days ago Brightstar posted about a tune she heard the grocery store, and she posted the lyrics. The song, as I indicated in my comments to her, brought back very strong memories for me, and I realized that I hadn't listed to "that" song in a very long time -- actually, I haven't listened to it in full since that fateful day in elementary school. I just can't listen to it.

There are other songs like that, too. Paul McCartney has this song "My Brave Face" that I used to absolutely love -- I remember singing along to the lyric "... ever since you went away I've had this sentimental inclination not to change a single thing..." at the top of my lungs. But that song now reminds me of a dead friendship, a friendship I still hold as one of the most important relationships in my life thus far. That song makes me sad and angry all at once. I heard the song on the radio a few weeks ago and I immediately had to change the station to find something else.

Sometimes I get so hung up on avoiding music that makes me think of things I don't want to think about that I forget to listen to the great music that makes me happy. I'll go for long stretches of time without listening to anything at all -- I'll leave the iPod at home, keep the car stereo tuned to talk radio, and not have the radio on at home. I just went through a period like this in European Capital City, since I wanted to make sure I kept my ears open to hear the sounds of the "life" of the city: people chatting, the recorded voice in the subway that tells passengers which station they're at, the European sirens on police cars and fire trucks, men at fruit stands calling out, "Fresh bananas! Beautiful, beautiful ripe bananas!" But earlier this week, when I was feeling a bit down and stressed and ready to go home, I pulled out the iPod and let the music cheer me up. I didn't want to hear the city anymore -- I wanted to hear home.

I walked to "work" singing along to the first Dave Matthews Band CD under my breath. I forgot how much I enjoy that music (not too fussed about their subsequent CDs, however), how happy it makes me. Later that afternoon I was sitting in the library and listening to a little Sting (love him, always), and then later that night I was singing in my bedroom with Ella Fitzgerald. I was in a considerably better mood just for having heard these familiar tunes. I didn't have to talk to anyone, I didn't have to do anything spectacular, didn't have to eat dark chocolate to cheer myself up -- I just had to listen to some old friends.

Sunday night, a friend of the woman I'm staying with here bought me a ticket to the Philharmonic. I was excited to go, even without knowing what was on the program. I arrived and waited patiently in my seat. The first song? Aaron Copeland's "Hoe Down" from Rodeo (you know, the "Beef, it's what's for dinner" campaign song?). I listened intently, joyfully. Sounds of home. But then, the coup de grace: selections from George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess, perhaps my favorite music in the world. Tears streamed down my face as I heard the soloists sing. (I am the world's biggest George Gershwin fan, honestly. I think I've read every book on the man, including a separate book about the making of Porgy and Bess.) It was like the music was sent from above, just to cheer me up. Maybe it was.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 11/22/2005 05:00:00 PM  
2 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger ABDmom said…

    A lovely post, Prof Me. Thanks for sharing it.

  • At 1:57 AM, Blogger Demetri said…

    Hey there,

    I do some of those same things. The NPR/talk radio. So much that it surprises me when I throw in a cd, and it almost hurts.

    Copeland and Gershwin. Perfect.

    Do you feel more American when you're away?

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