Photo: CC Moehre1992
Close your eyes and listen. And taste and see and feel and smell the music.
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST EMMANUELLE LAMBERT
Listen, come closer. This is your favorite piece of music playing, right here, right now. Can you hear it?
Now close your eyes. Right here, right now, go on, do it.
Tell me, how did you see your music?
I know, you must be looking at those words thinking that I must have gone crazy and I have lost my marbles. Believe it or not, but I haven’t. I swear.
Think about it (grab a cup of tea or whatever makes you comfy): imagine you’re sitting at home, or on a bus or train home, earphones on and the best music you can feel like playing where you are, physically and mentally. Savoring the moment, you are closing your eyes, sipping in the comfort and the joy the melody is birthing inside of you.
Then you notice something before your closed eyelids, something shapeless, very faint at the beginning, but then getting stronger, taking shape as the music is rhyming and beating from inside.
Now, what is happening? Does the form remain shapeless and abstract, or is there a clear pattern that you can clearly describe? What is happening in your vision center?
I can see these abstract flashy colors in minimalist environment when I listen to electronica, fireworks and balloons when I listen to hip hop. It gets better when I listen to my root music, pop rock: I can see myself playing the bass guitar, and occasionally (ok, almost on every occasion) being the lead singer. That will be our secret.
Touch and interaction
How do you feel your music? Is your finger sliding along your MP3 « Play » button ? Are you playing with the CD box ? Or even more, what does it feel like to take the record out of its paper sleeve, all wrinkled and worn out ? How does it feel to gently lower the needle onto the fragile record ?
If you play music, say the guitar, what are the sensations you get when you strike a chord? How did your fingertips react when you first played ? How did you feel when the callouses started to build up on your fingers ?
How did you feel when you sensed the melodies you were playing go right through you, through every nerve, how did they resonate in your whole body ?
Even if you’re like me, a giant ear, you will experience your whole body responding and vibrating, pulsating, Spanda reacting to music.
A nose for music
How do you smell the music ? As for me, I still love Cds and material music if I may say so, partly because a new cd does have a distinct smell as you unwrap it and crack the booklet open.
It might be that cookies were baking in the oven when you listened to this tune for the first time. Or you were with cuddling with you first boyfriend, face buried in his favorite sweater he was wearing on this day.
This song is triggering a flood of memories, and without even noticing it you can smell the smells that were in the air, you can taste these freshly-baked cookies that you ate as you chatted away with your mother, music playing in the background.
Finally, how does your music sound?
Yes, finally, the hearing
Are you hearing and listening to the story? Are you listening to the guitar layer? Are you hearing the shuffling on this old record of yours? Are you hearing the cracks as the needle caresses the record grooves?
Are you listening to the voice, overproduced and Vocodered away (think my not-so-secret pop crush Britney Spears) or simply captured on an old tape recorder and double layered manually (think my beloved tragic unaware love of my life Elliott Smith) because that was all there was? What do you hear? What do you listen to? What do your ears process first, what sound, raw and intuitive?
Music is first and foremost a conscious listening experience. However when you dive deeper, our whole body reacts to the sound and vibration, and the senses, all of them, get to play too.
When you listen to music, completely abandoned to it, you are surrendering to sensation. You are stopping your mind to feel, and get in touch with yourself again, deep down.
Now close your eyes, and listen…
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.