On Music, Writing and Change

Hey! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been on the road and haven’t had much of an opportunity to get reliable internet connection. Anyway, in my last post I gave you this quote from Plato to think about: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

This quote, though I disagree with a lot of what Plato believed was true, is a beautiful way to describe what music is and does. Music is a law unto itself for each new generation of people and for different groups of people. Every new generation has a type or several different types of music that proliferate through them and define them, and the generation before them typically shows disdain for the new music trends because it’s different. People hate change, somewhat of an obvious statement by the way people act, but still an extremely important point to remember. So keep that in mind. For example, when rock ‘n’ roll came on the scene in the 1950s, many of the parents of the teens who got into the new music were horrified that they could ever listen to such raucous, vile noise. Picture a middle-aged woman turning on her relatively new and amazing black and white television to watch some good old educational programming and she sees Elvis humping the air in a lewd fashion and singing in that deep sensual voice with his bad boy get-up and trend setting hairdo, the girls are screaming. Imagine her teenage daughter named Sally is in the room with her during this horrid event. Sally starts dancing along to the music. Horrified, Sally’s mom calls in her husband and screams, “Look what that hooligan on the TV is doing, George!” Yes Mrs. Sally’s mom, he’s having sex with the air and your daughter is doing it with him, probably having fantasies right now about being on the screen dancing with him. Sally’s mom bans her from ever listening to rock ‘n’ roll ever again; Sally responds by sneaking out of the house to date an Elvis copycat. All this because Sally’s mom couldn’t cope with change.

See what I mean? Parents have always hated the music their kids listen to. It’s like a rite of passage in our society to listen to something that makes your parents want to lock up in you room and put bars on your window, sorry but they’ve probably already read Harry Potter so they will have contingency plans in case a flying car filled with ginger kids comes to save you from your prison. Part of growing up is rebelling against your parents, no one wants to be 40 and still living in their parent’s house. Part of the process is listening to the music you like instead what your parents want you to listen to.

But I digress, the point is that music is a moral law unto itself. It defines entire generations. Woodstock and the hippy movement, rock ‘n’ roll infecting the youth, and relatively new trends of rap, pop, modern rock and country. Music is part of who we are and we listen to the music that best meshes with the core of our being. Music teaches us, for better or worse, how to act.

Can you imagine a world without music? Sure it’s easy to imagine that certain artists you do not like never existed, I do that everyday here’s to you Rebecca Black, but can you imagine a world without music? When I picture a world without music, I picture a sterile, office-like world with no happiness in it at all, no individuality, no love. I know this is a bit extreme, but music is a major way we express ourselves and without it I find it hard to imagine happiness at all. A world without music would be like a body without a soul, just going through the motions of life without ever finding meaning.

Music is a source of inspiration for many, including myself. As I’m writing this post right now I’m listening to Chameleon Circuit, an excellent band that makes music inspired by Doctor Who. I rarely write anything without some music in the background. When I write my novel I started this summer, I always listen to Jennette McCurdy, who’s an awesome upcoming country artist and I do not like country music usually as my sister would gladly tell you, afraid of change I guess. Music focuses my mind on what I am doing, if it’s the right music for the moment. When I’m writing and I listen to Jennette’s music, the music acts like an automatic tuner to the universe for me to draw on for inspiration. The right music for the moment allows my imagination to soar to the skies and allows me to become inspired. However, if I’m listening something that does not mix with my mood, I’m happy and I listen to anything sad, I can’t concentrate or worse I become sad myself and cannot do anything.

Music influences moods that way, making the happy happier and the sad sadder because we often listen to music that matches our mood. For example, in spring this year I went through a difficult time after my girlfriend and I broke up and not only did I find it extremely difficult to listen to anything that I had been listening to while we were dating without my heart aching, mostly love songs which I have always enjoyed above all others, but I started listening to a lot of angry and sad music to match and magnify my feelings, lots of Disturbed, Godsmack and Michael Bolton which is an extremely weird combination. It all depends on my mood and how I feel. There are songs that I love but would never listen to in certain moods or if I just don’t feel like listening to it at the moment. Think about it and I’m sure you do the same kind of thing. Music does bring happiness where there is none and it calms us down when we ask it to.

I said I would briefly talk about the Plato quote in this post. That did not go as planned, but that’s my tangent about music being a great thing that we should be very thankful for, even the Biebers and the “Fridays” no matter how much they make us want to rip out our ears.

I think I’ll wrap this up with a few questions. What does music mean to you? What does it give you? What kinds of music do you listen to? Talk to me about it!

Next time I’ll give you insight into the story I’ve been working on for a month or so.

Here’s the quote to think about for my next post. It’s from the wonderful scientist, Carl Sagan: “The sky calls to us; if we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.”

Until next time have a wonderful time and make sure to keep listening to music and have fun!


About dmmaster42

I'm a fantasy/fiction/philosophical writer.
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6 Responses to On Music, Writing and Change

  1. live60 says:

    Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate different kinds of music, but I could never be a country fan. There’s a handful of songs I enjoy, but that’s about it. Right now, Lady Gaga has my heart and soul. I love everything she does. I’m hoping she hangs in there forever.


    • dmmaster42 says:

      I’ve started to listen to a lot more music over the years as well. I used to only listen to classic rock like my parents, but now I listen to a lot of artists in different genres. I like Lady Gaga, but I don’t listen to her very often.

  2. Slowlycreepingdeath says:

    Great piece, encouraged me to seek out the music of Jennette McCurdy. You are lucky in the US because you get huge variety of music radio. From Rock to Classical, Country to R&B. Over in the UK or here as I like to call it, we are force fed pop, dance and urban. Most of it sounds like it’s been written with crayon.

    Music used to empower people, Bob Dylan promoted a whole movement, Bob Marley prevented bloodshed, James Brown calmed a whole city on the brink of riot. Now I think the money men and the marketers have too much control little space for creativity it’s all about what will sell… hence Gaga’s image overhaul.

    • dmmaster42 says:

      Thanks! Great! She’s really good. You can find her on iTunes and probably on youtube.
      In the US we do have a lot of variety but sometimes I feel like I’m being force fed the music that my generation listens to, all the rap and pop party music, which I don’t like very much at all.
      I agree with you on how big CEOs in the music business have gotten too much control over what is sold widely, but I don’t think that problem is limited to just music. The publishing business is like that too; many businesses are the same that way.

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