Sunday, July 8, 2012

Why We Love Music

Did you ever wonder about this? Why are some people so captured by music that they listen for hours, enthralled? I suppose we could call up that lab connected with the School of Music at McGill that is doing cutting edge neurological research. Here is an article you might have a look at (in French, you can use Google translate to get an idea). That doesn't seem to help very much, does it?

Let me toss out a theory: some people find the world confusing and unpredictable; others find the world horrifying and appalling. Some of these people stumble across music and, due to a sensitivity to music, discover that the world of music contains things, pieces of music, that are clear and predictable (or at least organized in interesting ways). They find that music can be delightful, sensual, pleasing, soaring--well, a whole host of adjectives! So, to escape from the horrifying realities of the world, ordinary life, they listen to music, which seems to be a world of its own--and a better one.

I am reminded of that place in Le Grand Bleu, the film by Luc Besson, where Enzo, played by Jean Reno, says that underwater is "a better place". Music too, is a kind of underwater world where everything is better than the real world. I'm also reminded of a passage in Lucky Jim, the novel by Kingsley Amis, where the character Bill Atkinson is described in this way:
There was a long pause while Atkinson looked censoriously round the room, a familiar exercise. Dixon liked and revered him for his air of detesting everything that presented itself to his senses, and of not meaning to let this detestation become staled by custom.
So does this mean that music-lovers are nerds, geeks and dorks? Very possibly, yes! Music is a sort of odd universe that is different from the universe presented to us by our vision, touch and taste. Annoying music is far more annoying than an annoying wallpaper, but pleasing music is far more pleasing than a pleasing wallpaper--at least to me.

Now isn't that the perfect antidote to the most recent news from Greece, Afghanistan, Syria, the LIBOR...?

No comments: