Do you have an ear for music? You’re not alone. Though you might be surprised to learn who the biggest music lovers really are.
Language is a medium for transferring meaning from one person to another. We humans have several languages. Spoken language and written language are the most common. The others, not necessary for daily industry, have been regulated to occasional usage and often not even thought of as language. We call those other languages “the arts.” Music, painting, sculpture, dance, theater and film are all languages, the grandest of which is music. In music, the content communicated is emotional, political, even intellectual, often profound, often mediocre, rarely inconsequential.
Music is the language of birds. And the whales. In fact, Dr. Roger Payne, noted researcher into the songs of the humpback whale, has discovered that ten minutes of whalesong contain the equivalent bits of information that are contained in Homer’s Iliad. It has been alleged that whales are using music to communicate an oral history of the planet, as experienced from their unique underwater perspective. They are the great communications of Planet Ocean.
On the other hand, when we make music, we use our hands to transcend their limitations. Our hands make us manipulators. Our music makes us masters. During peak performances, we lose our sense of self. We are no longer music makers, but, instead, we become the music we make. We enter that incredibly knowing state psychologists and athletes refer to as “The Zone,” an elevated state of consciousness no longer involved with “thinking,” just “doing.” In the Western world, this musical journey most often begins with the piano.